Exploring the Deep

Passionately pursuing life, faith and adventure…


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response…

Thought this was interesting…received an email response to an online form I submitted to Washington Senator Patty Murray about oil prices:

Dear Ms. Retzlaff: Thank you for writing me about speculation in the energy market. It is good to hear from you on this important issue.

As you know, high oil prices are having a severe impact on families, businesses, and our entire economy. The price of crude oil has jumped from approximately $60 per barrel in early 2007 to more than $140 per barrel in July 2008, and prices remain highly volatile. This volatility and the increase in price have had a detrimental effect on many aspects of our economy, particularly impacting small businesses as well as on American families trying to budget their expenses.

Questions have been raised regarding whether excessive speculation by investors in commodity markets is contributing to the price volatility of oil. The federal government, through the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), is responsible for oversight of commodities trading markets to prevent manipulation and excessive speculation from occurring. In the past few years, there has been a massive increase in the amount of trading activity that takes place on the energy futures markets. However, annual funding to support the CFTC’s has not kept pace with the increased market activity that it monitors. In addition, CFTC’s regulatory structure has not evolved and has become outdated in comparison to the growing complexity of today’s global futures market. These deficiencies are hindering the government’s ability to conduct oversight over market activity and properly regulate trading.

As a result, I have coauthored legislation with the Senate Democratic leadership to provide the CFTC with new authority and resources to curb excessive speculation. This bill, S. 3268, the Stop Excessive Speculation Act of 2008, would help the CFTC address its current challenges by strengthening its access to information on oil market trading, increasing its staff and resources, and closing existing loopholes that have been used to avoid regulation and transparency. In addition, S. 3268 would create working groups to investigate the markets and effects of speculation. These new regulations would greatly enhance the ability of the federal government to monitor energy market trading and stop illegal activity that could be inflating oil prices.

Enhancing government oversight of futures markets is key to ensure trading is adequately regulated. However, we must continue to develop a comprehensive energy plan that will decrease our dependence on foreign fossil fuels and allow for the transition into using clean, alternative forms of energy. Diversification of our energy supply is imperative to decreasing our dependence on oil and to averting future energy crises. As the 110th Congress continues I will work with my colleagues to pass legislation that will increase regulation over market speculation, further alternative energy development, and increase our energy independence. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me, and please keep in touch.

I hope all is well in Issaquah.

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the latest in pictures

It’s officially summer in the Northwest (or at least it was up until this week when the weather turned cooler again), which means spending time outdoors on our new – to us – Adirondak chairs, hiking and planting herbs and flowers. You can see pictures here. Check out the pretty “new” blue chairs and amazing stone work on our patio. Who would have thought that such a little thing like staining some old chairs and thus making them really usable, would be such a lure to get me outside and reading more?! The only catch in the whole process was the mama racoon that came to visit midway through the painting. You can see it in the middle of the picture near the white fence. And in case you’re wondering…yes, I ran into the house shreaking. I’m not ashamed to admit I’m chicken.

Speaking of “wildlife” in the neighborhood, our upstairs neighbors spotted a mama bear and her cubs (four of them!) in our front yard Monday night. After screaming “BEARS!” and running inside, she saw them run around the corner of the house and down the stairs to my apartment. When did I sign up to live in the woods? 🙂

Otherwise, it’s been a great past couple of weeks with frequent visits into Seattle to visit friends, working out at the gym, enjoying the sun and summer. Work is going well and I’m still enjoying it almost every day. Everyone has those off days; I’m not alone, right? But really, I knew from the time I gave my life to Christ I wanted to work in ministry but never imagined I’d be working at a church. It’s a fantastic adventure and I feel fulfilled knowing what I do makes a difference in the Kingdom.

That’s about it from here. I miss you all and wish I could see you more often. Sending lots of love!


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couldn’t sleep

I woke up about half an hour ago because I couldn’t sleep — actually I woke up thinking about this organizational chart I’ve worked on all week and remembered that there was one more thing that needed to be changed before we could roll with it this weekend. And yes, I tried to just go back to sleep, thinking I’d do it in the morning. No luck. Geez…

At any rate, after I did everything I needed I still wasn’t tired and decided to check my email. There was an interesting letter from United and Northwest to all of their customers, as well as to Jet Blue, Continental, US Air, Southwest, Alaska, among many others. It seems that they are just as fed up with the escalating oil prices as we consumers are and decided to take some action. They’ve created a site, www.stopoilspeculationnow.com, which empowers you to plug in your zip code and send an email to your Congressmen asking them to do something. I thought it was great timing, seeing as my parents and I were looking at flights for Christmas (with the prices you have to plan that far ahead) and the norm from Seattle to Fargo was $700+. By comparison, last year it was less than $400.

We’ve all noticed the difference at the pumps. Let’s stop sitting back and complaining and start acting!


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new picts

Hi y’all – I just posted some new picts from last week. (Check them out here.) My parent’s were out for a week’s vacation and we went a little camera happy. Not to worry – I did some editing so you’re only getting the cream of the crop…well, mostly. Check back soon for a little narrative from the past few months. I’ve been storing up and promise to give you some good stuff. 🙂

Love…

At Snoqualmie Falls

Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle

At the Mariner’s Game with some friends from Eastridge – they won! (That’s us in the left corner…Mom took the picture.)

Cute shot with Janelle at the game