MAY
06
2008
Knock On Wood

It’s Casual Asides’ 5th anniversary. Consider (with the new word count feature at the bottom of each post) that at this point, I’ve written about 260-odd posts and hundreds of thousands of words, enough to fill a decent sized book. That’s gotta be worth something, right?

I pause here to consider that although I like to complain that nobody reads this blog, I have gotten the following things out of it (at least, in part):

  • A lot of blank stares
  • A Koufax Nomination for Best Writing
  • Internet-only friends
  • Internet-only enemies
  • A job
  • A girlfriend
  • Several free books to review, which I never get to
  • A radio appearance on Sirius
  • An embarrassingly small amount of actual visitors over five years, but at least in the six-digit range.

Draggin’ The Line II

Just to remind you of my predictions from last week and their current status (error margins tabulated by delegate count):

................. Popular Vote ..... Net Gained ... Error
.............. Clinton ... Obama ... Delegates .... Margin
Guam .......... 50% ...... 50% ..... 0 (wash) ..... 0%
Indiana ....... 50% ...... 50% ..... 0 (wash) ..... 1%
N. Carolina ... 46% ...... 54% ..... +9 Obama ..... 2%
W. Virginia ... 53% ...... 47% ..... +4 Clinton
Kentucky ...... 51% ...... 49% ..... +1 Clinton
Oregon ........ 47% ...... 53% ..... +2 Obama
Montana ....... 46% ...... 54% ..... 0 (wash)
S. Dakota ..... 48% ...... 52% ..... +1 Obama
Puerto Rico ... 60% ...... 40% ..... +11 Clinton

I’m doing OK so far. Now, it should be clearer to everyone that Hillary’s uphill battle to gain the nomination has become demonstrably steeper. As Republican strategist Alex Castellanos just said on CNN, Hillary has run a Republican-style campaign against Barack Obama, and it’s time for her to throw in the towel.

There are now more superdelegates in play than pledged (elected) delegated at stake in the upcoming contests. However, Hillary’s going to win Kentucky and West Virginia (and Obama will win Oregon) unless soething changes in the next week. And here’s what it should be:

Obama’s Gas Plan: Green and Transparent

President Bush himself said that this country is addicted to oil. All McCain and Clinton is offer our the promise of a cheap fix. That’s why this pandering is so destructive—if the government is going to help you, we’ve got to help you get clean.

I support a windfall profit tax on record oil profits. I support the elimination of $18 billion in subsidies to the oil companies. All Hillary Clinton wants to do is launder the money through a three-month tax holiday that will leave the price of oil higher and the roads in dangerous condition. I support a windfall tax, but nothaving that money go right back to the oil companies.

Now, there are a lot of people who are suffering with the price of gas climbind steadily towards four dollars a gallon. Especially working people who depend on their cars for a living. Long distance truckers. Pizza delivery people. Firefighters. We need to do something to help the people who are caught in this crunch, but we’re not going to do it in a way that keeps you dependent on more cheap gas.

I propose the money from any oil company tax and reduction of subsidies should go towards a government-issued coupon to replace your gas engine with a hybrid, electric, hydrogen, or biodiesel engine. This money should be retributed to those who are suffering the most from our oil national addiction. Any new cars with reduced gas usage should also be given this credit, of course.

Now, in recent days, I’ve been examining another part of the kind of challenge we face today connected to our disastrous environmental and energy policies. I’m talking about food prices. Food prices are being driven up by two things—the price of gas, and the price of corn which is being added to gasoline in the form of ethanol. I support ethanol. But we simply cannot continue to use food as a fuel additive. It doesn’t make sense. We are getting close to a real breakthrough with other sources of ethanol which will be much more productive than using corn. So I propose we mandate that no human food be used for ethanol production. There is still plenty of demand for corn from people, and we have better ways of helping the small farmers build a sustainable crop than giving fat checks to giant agribusiness.

The cost of using fossil fuels doesn’t just hit us at the pump. In West Virginia, coal companies are levelling mountains—literally erasing them from the landscape—in search of cheap coal they extract at tremendou environmental cost and fewer jobs for coal miners. On the one hand, we have enough coal in America to last 150 years; on the other, the burnign of coal is one of the leading sources of carbon in the atmosphere.

In Washington, they look at a problem like this and they see it as an opportunity to play people against one another; coal mining families against environmentalists, Democrats against Republicans, blue collar against white collar. They try to find the angles, look for a way to pander to people by offering short-term solutions. But when your short term solution counteracts your long-term goals, you have a problem.

We understand that what we have here is an opportunity to bring people together. We need to use American ingenuity and the power of the government to make sure that we use the resources we have responsibly and in a way that helps American families no matter who they are. We need a coal industry, but we also need the figure out how to neutralize the greenhouse gases coal produces. There are many exciting technologies Americans are working on, from turning emissions into baking soda, or feeding algae, or using it for natural gas exloration, that we can develop and ensure a sustainable economy and a sustainable environment.




 

 
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