THE VIEW FROM ARKANSAS

Larry Taylor: “I work at a law firm and an Abstract or Title Company. I spend every day helping folks get their mineral rights cleaned up where they can lease them and/or draw royalty payments. It is a great pleasure to see old dairy farmers, who have worked so hard, finally realize a nice income. The Fayetteville Shale is the 10th largest gas field in the U.S. We have seen over 5,000 wells drilled since 2004 and have seen very little environmental problems. There is not a single fresh water zone that has been damaged by fracture stimulation. I saw Gasland the night that it came on HBO. It is a crock. It is funded by some folks in the Northeast who have other issues with drilling operations in suburban communities. Also, almost to a person (certainly true in Gasland), the complainers are those folks who do NOT own their mineral rights. They are just trying to get a piece of the gas money pie. Sure, there are going to be accidents and errors made by companies who do not follow the rules. And as the report said, only Haliburton objects to making public the chemicals used in the process. Change the law, make it public, and use good regulatory approaches…even very tight ones, but please do not ban the technique, as has been the approach by some in Congress.”

Eileen Bartlett: “Another great documentary about the dangers of drilling for natural gas is Split Estate by filmmaker Debra Anderson.”

☞ My only concern with leaving it to the regulators is that sometimes, especially when anti-government folks are in charge, regulation grows lax. And if an aquifer is contaminated, how would you ever purify it? So the regulation needs to be solid, and there may be some high populated areas where we just shouldn’t take even a small risk.

A VIEW FROM CANADA: MORTGAGES

Erich Almasy: “Home mortgage interest is not deductible here in Canada. It took me a while to get used to this. Eventually, I saw that it encouraged rapid payoff of mortgages and shorter terms – average is less than 5 years, with rollovers as mortgages expire. Canada avoided the 2008 meltdown because there are essentially 5 big banks (and a Hamiltonian central bank) that were not irrationally exuberant. There is now some home price contraction but no meltdown. Home ownership percentages are higher than the U.S.A. with much higher home equity.”

A VIEW FROM CANADA: THE PRESIDENCY

From the October issue of Senior Living Magazine Vancouver & Lower Mainland:

America – He’s Your President for Goodness Sake!
By William Thomas

There was a time not so long ago when Americans, regardless of their political stripes, rallied round their president. Once elected, the man who won the White House was no longer viewed as a Republican or Democrat, but the President of the United States. The oath of office was taken, the wagons were circled around the country’s borders and it was America versus the rest of the world with the president of all the people at the helm.

Suddenly President Barack Obama, with the potential to become an exceptional president has become the glaring exception to that unwritten, patriotic rule.

Four days before President Obama’s inauguration, before he officially took charge of the American government, Rush Limbaugh boasted publicly that he hoped the president would fail. Of course, when the president fails the country flounders. Wishing harm upon your country in order to further your own narrow political views is selfish, sinister and a tad treasonous as well.

Subsequently, during his State of the Union address, which is pretty much a pep rally for America, an unknown congressional representative from South Carolina, later identified as Joe Wilson, stopped the show when he called the President of the United States a liar. The president showed great restraint in ignoring this unprecedented insult and carried on with his speech. Speaker Nancy Pelosi was so stunned by the slur, she forgot to jump to her feet while clapping wildly, 30 or 40 times after that.

Last spring, President Obama took his wife Michelle to see a play in New York City and republicans attacked him over the cost of security for the excursion. The president can’t take his wife out to dinner and a show without being scrutinized by the political opposition? As history has proven, a president in a theatre without adequate security is a tragically bad idea.

Remember: “Apart from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?”

At some point, the treatment of President Obama went from offensive to ugly and then to downright dangerous.

The health-care debate, which looked more like extreme fighting in a mud pit than a national dialogue, revealed a very vulgar side of America. President Obama’s face appeared on protest signs white-faced and blood-mouthed in a satanic clown image. In other tasteless portrayals, people who disagreed with his position distorted his face to look like Hitler complete with mustache and swastika.

Odd, that burning the flag makes Americans crazy, but depicting the president as a clown and a maniacal fascist is accepted as part of the new rude America.

Maligning the image of the leader of the free world is one thing, putting the president’s life in peril is quite another. More than once, men with guns were videotaped at the health-care rallies where the president spoke. Again, history shows that letting men with guns get within range of a president has not served America well in the past.

And still the “birthers” are out there claiming Barack Obama was not born in the United States, although public documentation proves otherwise. Hawaii is definitely part of the United States, but the Panama Canal Zone where his electoral opponent Senator John McCain was born? Nobody’s sure.

Last month, a 44-year-old woman in Buffalo was quite taken by President Obama when she met him in a chicken wing restaurant called Duff’s. Did she say something about a pleasure and an honour to meet the man or utter encouraging words for the difficult job he is doing? No. Quote: “You’re a hottie with a smokin’ little body.”

Lady, that was the President of the United States you were addressing, not one of the Jonas Brothers! He’s your president for goodness sakes, not the guy driving the Zamboni at “Monster Trucks On Ice.” Maybe next it’ll be, “Take Your President To A Topless Bar Day.”

In President Barack Obama, Americans have a charismatic leader with a good and honest heart. Unlike his predecessor, he’s a very intelligent leader. And unlike that president’s predecessor, he’s a highly moral man.

In President Obama, Americans have the real deal, the whole package and a leader that citizens of almost every country around the world look to with great envy. Given the opportunity, Canadians would trade our leader, hell, most of our leaders for Obama in a heartbeat.

What America has in Obama is a head of state with vitality and insight and youth. Think about it, Barack Obama is a young Nelson Mandela. Mandela was the face of change and charity for all of Africa but he was too old to make it happen. The great things Obama might do for America and the world could go on for decades after he’s out of office.

America, you know not what you have.

The man is being challenged unfairly, characterized with vulgarity and treated with the kind of deep disrespect to which no previous president was subjected. It’s like the day after electing the first black man to be president, thereby electrifying the world with hope and joy, Americans sobered up and decided the bad old days were better.

President Obama may fail but it will not be a Richard Nixon default fraught with larceny and lies. President Obama, given a fair chance, will surely succeed but his triumph will never come with a Bill Clinton caveat – “if only he’d got control of that zipper.”

Please. Give the man a fair, fighting chance. This incivility toward the leader who won over Americans and gave hope to billions of people around the world that their lives could be enhanced by his example, just . . . has to stop.

 

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