Tebow sacks socialism

By Katie Kieffer
Tim Tebow

Image credit: Tim Tebow image from the photostream of dep6954 on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Everyone wants a piece of 24-year-old Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow. Most people settle for a high-five or an autograph. Others ask him to surrender his values, like the young women who beg him for fan photos and then start stripping off their shirts—sending Tebow darting away. Tebow has All-American character. He espouses capitalistic values that are foundational to America: Competitiveness, ownership, responsibility, hard work, optimism, faith and persistence. As a football celebrity, Tebow effectively glamorizes a rational lifestyle. Sure, he celebrates after touchdowns by pointing to heaven and shouting: “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! … Victory!” But he is not expressive in an irrational way. Tebow once told ESPN: “When people ask, I let ‘em know that I am a follower of Jesus Christ and I’m not ashamed of that and I never will be.” The three key words in that sentence are: “When people ask.” Tebow’s faith is public without becoming irrational or aggressive. Case in point: When asked by the press whether he’s “saving himself for marriage,” he confidently answers: “Yes, I am.” There is neither hesitation nor conceit in his face when he answers; there is merely self-assurance. Even “Tebowing,” Tebow’s trademark pose, is pensive. Unlike President Obama’s perpetual “I’ve-got-my-nose-in-the-air-and-I-don’t-care” stance which conveys prideful philistinism—Tebowing is purposeful and humble. In fact, TIME Magazine compares it to the philosophic pose of Auguste Rodin’s Thinker sculpture. Tebow’s mere existence sets irrational people on edge. Just as Occupy Wall Streeters claim that entrepreneurial risk-takers like Steve Jobs got rich through “luck,” Tebow’s critics claim that he wins football games through luck—not hard work and raw talent. Dolphins linebacker Kevin Burnett told Sports Illustrated that Tebow is “a football player who just happens to be a quarterback.” Luck plays little role in Tebow’s career. Tebow has worked hard, developing his natural abilities to become a pro and outwit his opponents.
Tim Tebow, #15 for the Gators

Tim Tebow wears the #15 Gators jersey. Image credit: bjsmith on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Tebow is fast for his size. His on-field intuition is accurate. His touchdown-to-interception ratio in college was an incredible 88-16. He helped bring the Florida Gators the 2006 NCAA National Championship trophy as a 19-year-old freshman, scored the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore (becoming the first underclassman to win the award), won a second national championship as a junior and missed winning a third national championship as a senior by a single game. Tebow’s ultimate strength is his character. The year after Tebow won the Heisman, the Gators came short of having an undefeated season because they lost to Ole Miss midway through the season. He gave an immortalizing press conference where he put the blame on himself for missing his personal goal of achieving an undefeated season: “I’m sorry, extremely sorry … I promise you one thing: A lot of good will come out of this. You have never seen any player in the entire country play as hard as I will play the rest of this season and you’ll never see someone push the rest of the team as hard as I will push everybody the rest of this season and you’ll never see a team play harder than we will the rest of this season. God bless.” Tebow fulfilled his promise to his fans; the Gators won 22 games in a row after Tebow gave this press conference and they ended the season by winning the national title. In a capitalist society, leaders—whether they are the President of the United States, the CEO of a corporation or the quarterback for a football team—take responsibility. They don’t blame Congress, their shareholders or their fans. They focus on improving themselves and working harder to compete for a winning result. On the other hand, leaders who embrace socialism shun responsibility. This month, President Obama blamed capitalism—the foundation of this country—for our poor economy. He said capitalism: “doesn’t work. It has never worked.” The President’s statement is akin to Tebow blaming the football turf for his losses. Also this month, WVEC-TV asked President Obama: “… do you take any personal responsibility for your administration creating that condition [a poor economy]?” The President replied: “Well, we didn’t create the condition. We haven’t, uh, we haven’t solved it fully yet.” Unlike Tebow, President Obama refuses to accept responsibility for the economic destruction he has unleashed via socialist policies like ObamaCare, bailouts, net neutrality regulations and by blocking oil production. Football is competitive. There are winners and losers. Talent and hard work win; incompetence and laziness lose. Football rewards innovative risk-takers and analytical thinkers, not sentimental whiners. By instilling capitalistic principles, football builds leaders. In contrast, by discouraging competition, socialist principles encourage people to do the bare minimum, shirk responsibility and reject leadership. Tebow lives his life in a way that embraces capitalistic principles and he is a leader because of his strong character. After Tebow crushed the Chicago Bears in overtime this month, Charlotte Bobcats guard Kemba Walker tweeted: Man do I respect Tim Tebow. True Leader. Not a bad person to model yourself after.”
Tim Tebow golfing with Jack Nicklaus.

Tim Tebow golfing with Jack Nicklaus. Image credit: mrnoy9n on Flickr via Creative Commons.

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Santa Baby, bring me coal

By Katie Kieffer
Santa Claus

Image credit: “Meeting Santa at Santa's Seaside Pavilion” by Loren Javier on Flickr via Creative Commons.

I want a coal plant for Christmas, and not because I’m a naughty girl. I want lots of coal so I can power up the high-tech toys Santa is bringing me, including an electronic robot maid that cooks and cleans, a 32-meter-wide TV and a modern, coal-fired steam locomotive that allows me to bypass the TSA Grope Squad when I travel cross-country. OK, so Santa probably won’t be sending a full-size, coal-fired train down my chimney. But, like many of you, I may be getting small electronics for Christmas (or Hanukkah). As millions of us ring in the New Year by adding new gadgets to the power grid, we need to make sure we have ample electricity to fire up our cutting-edge iPads, TVs, sound systems and smartphones. Americans get almost half of their electricity from coal. I think coal is a wonderful source of energy and we need to continue producing it.

Image credit: “Coal” by Kentucky Photo File on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Politically-motivated environmentalists like President Obama maintain that we can wean ourselves from coal and oil and rely on natural gas and sustainable energy. TIME Magazine reports: ‘If all goes well, gas should help displace coal. … In a speech on March 30, President Barack Obama hailed natural gas as part of the solution to reducing America’s oil addiction. “The potential for natural gas is enormous.”’ President Obama’s plan is hypocritical because his administration is actively threatening natural gas fracking and he has shackled clean tech development through excessive government intervention. Natural gas augments but does not replace our need for coal; TIME reports that natural gas only supplies about 25 percent of U.S. electricity and only provides heat for about 60 million U.S. homes. Trucks, planes and trains run on petroleum. Plus, sustainable technologies like wind and solar are still neither profitable nor efficient. The EPA, environmental activists like Michael Bloomberg and the Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” campaign are fighting hard for new regulations that will quickly force the coal industry out of business. In July, citing the Clean Air Act and “public health benefits,” the EPA issued rules that require coal plants to dramatically reduce their cross-state emissions. As a result, American Electric Power has plans to shed hundreds of jobs, shut down coal plants and lose billions of dollars in order to execute the cross-border mandates within the EPA’s three-year compliance time limit. This month, the EPA is expected to announce a set of new smog regulations that will clamp down on power companies. “Not so fast,” cautions the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NAERC)—a panel of volunteer industry experts that the government designates to ensure and improve reliability in the electric power grid. NAERC warns that the EPA’s strict regulations will cause up to 600 large power plants across the country to shut down for months while they adopt the new rules and will force numerous older plants to shut down indefinitely because they won’t be able to afford compliance. The result will be power blackouts across the country plus additional power grid instability in drought-prone areas like Texas due to new EPA cooling water rules. So, the government’s own designated industry experts are warning us that the EPA’s smog rules will have big costs: Soaring energy prices, frequent blackouts and job loss. And the EPA can hardly cite the “public health dangers” of greenhouse gases with a straight face when internal government probes reveal that the EPA has altered, withheld and distorted its scientific findings in order to sell the notion that greenhouse gas emissions harm humans. What’s the EPA’s replacement plan for coal? You can’t just shut down a primary source of American energy without proposing a cleaner, more efficient and more affordable alternative. Clean technology is not yet a viable replacement because government intervention has stymied clean tech development, yielding flaming electric cars (think the Chevy Volt), bankrupt solar panel companies (think Solyndra) and windmills that kill birds without supplying affordable energy to humans (think President Obama’s Cape Wind Project). The wealthier a country becomes, the cleaner it becomes. This month, the Global Carbon Project released a study showing that developing countries like India and China account for the majority (57 percent) of global greenhouse emissions. Only rich economies can afford to develop the latest clean technology. Before we can afford the costs associated with developing the supposedly cleaner technology behind solar and wind, we need to revive our rapidly deteriorating economy. And by “revive,” I mean continue developing fuels like coal that will prevent power blackouts, create jobs and lower the cost of energy. Minimal smog is a small price to pay for a safe and reliable power grid and a healthy, growing economy. Santa Baby, there’s one thing I really do need, the deed, to a coal mine, Santa Baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight. To bring Katie Kieffer to speak at your professional event or college campus, please follow this link to inquire about booking a speech.  


Frack, baby, frack!

By Katie Kieffer

Shale rock. Image credit: “Shale” by tonguetyed on Flickr via Creative Commons.

I have a slam-dunk plan for creating jobs: Frack, baby, frack. Move like Shaq. Let’s beat the buzzer, Shaq-style, and score points for the U.S. economy. Frack Attack! Like basketball referees, ratings agencies Moody’s and Fitch Ratings are signaling they may join Standard and Poor’s in calling a foul on the U.S. economy. The good news is that we can move toward recovery by fracking shale for gas and oil—producing energy and creating jobs simultaneously. Fracking only recently became a profitable extraction technology.  In 2003, a Texas speculator named George Mitchell bucked conventional wisdom. He discovered that he could force impenetrable shale rock thousands of feet beneath the earth’s surface to give up its methane (natural gas is primarily methane) by combining horizontal drilling with hydrofracturing. In 2007, natural gas company Range Resources perfected Mitchell’s discovery and developed a cost-effective technique to commercialize fracking. America’s shale-gas cache is the Marcellus Shale Deposit, a 575-mile formation extending through four states, primarily Pennsylvania and New York. Marcellus is arguably the second largest shale-gas field in the world. Fracking is an economic boon: Pennsylvania landowners who once struggled to make ends meet have signed six-figure leases with shale drilling companies. In addition, landowners earn 12-to-15 percent of the royalties from the gas extracted from their property. Marcellus brought Pennsylvania 18,000 new jobs in the first half of this year alone. Pennsylvania leaseholder Rick Baker told the New York Times: “We need this natural gas to keep functioning. There are still people sitting in bars waiting for the steel mills to reopen.” States like North Dakota have experienced historic economic growth now that fracking technology has also made it possible to recover oil from shale. North Dakota’s Bakken formation holds over 24 billion barrels of shale oil. The Institute for Energy Research reports that North Dakota’s GDP is now nine percent above the national average while its unemployment rate is far below average. Fracking is safe. Nevertheless, the EPA and the media claim that shale companies keep the fracking chemicals they use “top secret” and that these chemicals could contaminate groundwater. Fracking fluid is roughly 99.5 percent water and sand; the remaining 0.5 percent is a combination of three-to-12 chemicals at low concentrations. The New American cites Department of Energy evidence showing that: “the fluids are well known and rigorously regulated.” Furthermore, there is zero scientific evidence confirming that fracking contaminates groundwater. Syracuse University hydrogeologist Don Siegel told TIME Magazine: “I don’t think it’s scientifically plausible to suggest that could happen.” Certainly, since commercial fracking technology is still new and revolutionary, there are kinks to work out. In particular, Pennsylvania’s unique geography and dense population present challenges for disposing of the fracking wastewater or “flowback” that travels up each Marcellus shale well along with the methane; even the shale-gas industry desires to perfect the disposal phase of the fracking process. Yet even the flowback disposal “challenge” offers another lucrative opportunity for the U.S. economy because global capitalists are increasingly finding ways to safely and profitably extract minerals, oils, fats, chemicals and nutrients from wastewater. Basically, groundbreaking technology exists to render wastewater both profitable and sustainable. Water technology venture capitalist David Henderson told the New York Times: “Wastewater is a very bad name because there’s a lot of value in wastewater. [In Singapore, for example] the word ‘wastewater’ doesn’t exist. They call it ‘new water.’ They call their wastewater plants ‘water reclamation plants.’ And I think that’s an interesting shift in mentality.” Fracking technology was developed by private sector entrepreneurs; I think we should offer the private sector a chance to solve its challenges. Radical EPA regulations will merely repress America’s ability to benefit from fracking, kill job growth and hike energy prices. An extra-Congressional agency like the EPA is far too capricious to be trusted with regulating fracking technology. In fact, the New York Times has reported that the EPA has repeatedly suppressed and altered its scientific findings on fracking for political reasons. The EPA is now working on a study to determine the safety of fracking, however the results will not be complete until the end of 2012 and the EPA’s report based on the study will not be finished until 2014. If the EPA is seriously concerned that fracking causes water contamination, why is it taking over two years to release its report? This is a long time to wait and it delays potential controversy until after the 2012 election so that President Obama does not have to fight environmentalists to regain his office. Let’s frack our way toward creating the jobs and affordable fuel that the economy needs to recover. If we move fast like Shaq—fracking for natural gas and oil—we can beat S&P’s downgrade buzzer. To bring Katie Kieffer to speak at your professional event or college campus, please follow this link to inquire about booking a speech.