vBlog: Eye of Newt

vBlog for 05/15/06, discussing Newt Gingrich’s comments on the warrantless wiretapping by the NSA on Meet the Press, the militarization of our nation’s borders for political gain, and my continuing research into Ethanol production and oil independence.

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Link Digest:

MTP Transcript for May 14 – Meet the Press, online at MSNBC – MSNBC.com

MR. RUSSERT: But you?re not troubled with the government gathering data on phone calls made in this country by American citizens?
MR. GINGRICH: Look, if you find out one morning that we now have five terrorists in the U.S. who are part of an active network who want to destroy New York City or Buffalo or Atlanta, and the government says, ?You know, we could?ve tracked every call they made for the last 10 years, but that would?ve been wrong, Tim. So we don?t know who they?ve been working with. We don?t know what their network is and we can?t stop it,? you?re then going to have a totally new set of congressional hearings by the same people who will then reverse their side, totally. I do think your civil liberties ought to be…(unintelligible). Nobody who?s not involved in terrorism should be at risk. Nobody who?s making normal phone calls should be at risk. But the idea that we?re going to say to the United States government, for libertarian reasons, ?We?d rather lose a city than have you gather data,? I think is totally out of touch with the danger of the modern world.

The DragonFlyEye.Net Blog ? Blog Archive ? Gingrich on MTP

Another falsehood in the above-quoted interview is the notion that without the wiretapping powers, we are powerless to stop a terrorist attack. What utter nonesense is this? This is a two-part whopper, the first being that the terrorists are so sophisticated and so smart as to render our every Constitutionally satisfied power of investigation moot in thier presence. The second is that having this one new power makes everything all better.

CNN.com – Official: Thousands of troops will head to border – May 15, 2006

President Bush will order fewer than 10,000 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to support Border Patrol agents in stopping illegal immigration, a senior administration official said Monday. . . The troops — about 3 percent of all National Guard units — will not be involved in apprehending illegal immigrants, the official said.

LP: US to put machineguns on Great Lakes cutters (US unilaterally rips up Rush-Bagot Treaty of 1817)

In the Rush-Bagot treaty of 1817, the two countries agreed to demilitarize Great Lakes waters. The treaty followed the War of 1812, which saw Canadian and American forces wage violent battles on Lake Erie and Lake Huron. Its provisions have now been reinterpreted because of U.S. concerns about customs violations, human smuggling and international terrorism. An official with Foreign Affairs says Canada has agreed to read the treaty in such a way that machine guns of sizes up to .50 caliber will be considered weapons of law enforcement rather than weapons of war. Canada reserves the right to arm its own vessels as well, the official told CBC News. Historian Frederick Stonehouse of Marquette, Mich., has written 26 books on Great Lakes history. He said the Rush-Bagot treaty’s references to wooden ships and cannons have long been obsolete, but its spirit remains both clear and respected by both sides. “Certainly the Great Lakes [have] has not had any military vessels stationed on [them] since ? gosh, really since the advent of that treaty.”

Howstuffworks “How much corn would I need to grow in order to produce enough ethanol fuel to drive my car across the country?”

We know that it takes 26.1 pounds of corn to make 1 gallon of ethanol, so we can now calculate how many pounds of corn we need to fuel the Camry on its trip: 138.7 gallons * 26.1 pounds = 3,620.07 total pounds of corn (METRIC: 525.2 liters * 3.13 kg = 1,642 kg) You will need to plant a little more than a half an acre of corn to produce enough ethanol to fuel your trip.

Ethanol Conversion Factors

Commodity Conversion Factor: Barley 1.4 gallons per bushel; Corn 2.5 gallons per bushel; Grain Sorghum 4.3 gallons per hundredweight; Wheat 2.8 gallons per bushel; Switchgrass 70 gallons per dry ton

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By Tommy Belknap

Owner, developer, editor of DragonFlyEye.Net, Tom Belknap is also a freelance journalist for The 585 lifestyle magazine. He lives in the Rochester area with his wife and son.