It never ceases to amaze me how hard Russian President Vladimir Putin is competing to be Russian butthole of the 21st century! On this year's Orthodox Christmas he decided to let millions of people freeze in Bulgaria and Serbia by cutting off their natural gas because he is still upset that the Ukraine has a will of its own. Life is tough enough for many people in these emerging economies. I had the opportunity to visit Bulgaria in 2005 and saw stark poverty in the countryside (like in this predominantly Muslim village pictured here). Putin's latest ploy of playing politics with energy and Iran's call to cut off the spigot for countries supporting Israel's right to defend itself from terrorists is yet another wake-up call that we in America (and other sovereign nations as well) absolutely must work toward becoming energy independent! I don't care if you're republican or democrat, liberal or conservative, we must make it a national priority to become more energy efficient, explore viable alternative energy sources such as nuclear (not corn based ethanol which creates food shortages and makes a few Agri-businesses rich) and work for a sustainable population-like addressing our out-of-control immigration- an issue that no one seems to want to talk about. You can't add one million plus people to the population every year and expect that your energy consumption will go down. It'll only be a matter of time before our "good friends" in the Middle East will take a lesson from Putin. They did it in 1973 and they'll do it again. And for Russia, "Tear down your medieval mindset walls!"