Posts Tagged ‘fox news

29
Oct
08

Screw You – Leave My Liberal MSNBC Alone!

With MSNBC taking second place in the nightly line-up ratings for October (which isn’t over yet, so it’s weird the ratings for the month are already out…), all I have to say is, Damn Straight! We liberal-leaning political junkies need our opinion/analysis fix – or at least spirited discussion. No one would accuse Joe Scarborough of leaning left, yet his numbers are up as well.

CNN

CNN President Jon Klein

CNN President Jon Klein

Now, CNN is getting defensive. The network president Jon Klein is quoted in The Huffington Post as saying MSNBC’s partisan programming is giving it a boost before the election, but CNN’s post-partisan line-up will serve well in the long-term.

Um, “post-partisan”? We already have bi-partisan and non-partisan. I mean, how many prefixes can you attach to one term? Anyway, on The Daily Show Oct. 27, Campbell Brown said “We are banking on the idea that people want us to play it a little more straight than that.”

Okay, we get it, CNN. You’re the mature, unbiased news analysis. We.Get.It! (although, I think CNN’s daily news coverage tends to be a bit sensationalist, even if it’s unbiased sensationalism)

FOX

Do I even have to devote space in this blog to FOX News? Well, if I must sully myself, I must. I’ll just have to wash with LAVA afterward.

FOX is partisan. Everyone knows it. I mean, Roger Ailes is an absolute trollop for the Republican Party – especially Neo-Cons. He basically has one of those “puff, puff, give” relationships with them.

And who gives a crap, really? If FOX wants to be partisan, let them be partisan! It’s not as if their shit doesn’t reek and we intelligent people can’t all smell it. Everyone knows their angle and I’d have no problem with it if they didn’t claim to be fair and balanced. There has to be a special place in Hell reserved for the people who repeatedly say this and those who actually believe it.

Which brings me to – did anyone catch the video of Obama spokesman Bill Burton having a confrontation with anchor Megyn Kelly?

FOXs Megyn Kelly

FOX's Megyn Kelly

It’s priceless watching her get all hot and bothered by Burton’s repeated accusations that FOX has an agenda. She was so irritated, when referring to FOX News coverage, she actually repeated the phrase “fair and balanced” three times. “Oh! Maybe if I say it enough, it’ll be true! Where’s my fairy godmother, dammit!”

I don’t know what kind crack they’re smoking over there at FOX HQ, but I’m sure it’s illegal in the lower 48. Let’s think about this. Brit Hume called the Democratic National Convention “a spectacle.” Their show hosts are Laura Ingraham, Bill O’Reilly, Steve Doocy, and Sean Hannity – who’s “Hannity’s Obama & Friends: A History of Radicalism” made our likely next president look like Al Qaeda’s puppy dog mascot. Outwardly and inwardly repulsive William Kristol and Karl Rove are big-time FOX commentators and the network just hired Glenn Beck.

People, I am throwing up inside. Are you with me? OK. Let’s continue.

Jed L of Daily Kos conducted a search from Oct. 12-Oct 16 and found FOX News “mentioned ‘ACORN’ or ‘Ayers’ 1,231 times,” compared to MSNBC’s 407 and CNN’s 391. And, according to Rasmussen Reports – run by FOX darling Dick Morris (which is why his poll is the oft-quoted poll on FOX), a survey released August 6 of this year indicated 87% of FOX viewers said they planned to vote for McCain. EIGHTY-SEVEN PERCENT. Now, if they were fair and balanced, don’t you think their viewership would reflect that? (Oh, FYI – only 26% of CNN and 30% of MSNBC viewers planned on pulling the lever for the Republican.)

And, just for recreation, have a look at this picture of their website’s homepage (also posted on Daily Kos by Jed L):

For chrissakes, FOX – own your partisanship. Be one with your partisanship. Be proud that anti-intellectual, Right Wing Nut Jobs have a home among the cable news giants. No one thinks you’re FAIR AND BALANCED – not even FOX News watchers. I know pah-lenty of them and they will fully admit your slant and fully admit to liking you just for that reason.

You may be many things and receive high ratings through deals with some devil, but fair and balanced you are not.

SIDEBAR ISSUE: McCAIN NEWS COVERAGE

Now we’re hearing echoes of Hillary Clinton Campaigns lamentations from McCain’s clusterfuck of a campaign. They’ve been whining over their media coverage for quite some time – even Mark Salter said he thinks the media want Obama to be president.

What the Clinton campaign failed to understand, and what the McCain campaign is now unable to grasp is that when you run a negative campaign, the media reports it. And if your campaign is negative, the media will investigate that, they will investigate your claims and attacks. If your campaign is positive and about yourself, the media will report that and investigate your policy assertions.

McCain wanted to generate negative coverage of Obama with attacks and lies and accusations. What they didn’t understand was that they made their own attacking and accusing THE story. When a politician behaves in such a manner, the media turns its attentions on the aggressive politician because attacking and lying are much juicier story lines. The media is hungry for ratings, not truth.

Had McCain run his campaign of 2000 – which the country was wanting – media coverage of McCain would have been much more positive. But, a campaign run by former Bushies and lobbyists can’t see the forest for the trees or satiate their taste for blood. They themselves are negative entities and black holes with little character. And that, in an of itself, attracted negativity.

Perhaps they will learn this lesson before Sarah Palin gives her own executive ambitions a go in 2012, but something tells me they won’t.

BACK TO MSNBC

Now, everyone’s attacking MSNBC for being too liberal. A meeting of television peeps last Monday produced much criticism of MSNBC, with Linda Bloodworth-Thomason saying Keith Olbermann-type programming “diminishes us.”

Well, get over it. For far too long, this electorate has had a Right-Wing opinioned network and their viewership follows them over the cliff of falsehoods, guilt-by-association, ugly insinuations and outright lying. I’ve been an MSNBC watcher for a while and I’m a fairly informed person. The lying that goes on on FOX – the softballing of their favorite candidates, etc. does not happen at MSNBC. I will absolutely agree that the opinionated nighttime line-up at MSNBC leans left. And MSNBC exec producer Senior VP Phil Griffin said the passionate voices at MSNBC were part of the “rough-and-tumble world of politics.”

Rachel Maddow. Yay.

I agree. If you can’t handle the heat – get out of the frizzeaking kitchen. There are outlets of non-partisan news and analysis available anywhere you want to look. These days, we want opinion. In the era of a tidal-wave of Neo-Con, anti-intellectual, gutter politics, liberals are practically begging for someone to say, This situation is ridiculous and we’re going to tell you why we think so. The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are not enough; we’re looking for people who are seriously concerned and seriously angry and aren’t afraid to say it and aren’t afraid of Republican, White House tactics that did Dan Rather in.

Plus, I’m so happy this influx of political opinion is replacing endless reruns of Lockup and To Catch a Predator. I mean, I felt dirty after watching those programs. Hate them.

Now, I’m no slave to MSNBC. And, just to prove it, I’ll allow you the special privilege of insight into my evening television-viewing habits:

I do watch Hardball and sometimes Race for the White House (which is hardly partisan – the other day Tim Pawlenty and Nicole Wallace were the only one-on-one guests. Plus, David Gregory comes from the same non-partisan school of journalism as Tom Brokaw and Brain Williams). Countdown with Keith Olbermann has too much ranting and hardly ever gets my eye – I’m normally tuned into the reruns of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report which I undoubtedly missed the night before. I always check to see what’s happening on Larry King before I commit to Rachel Maddow, whom I love (and can catch her again, later). And then, at bedtime, I’ve got Anderson Cooper on while trying to read the multitude of books I should have finished weeks ago.

And, lest you think my eyeballs permanently glued to the television, I’m almost always doing something else in conjunction with watching these programs: cooking, reading, cleaning, writing, researching, polishing my toenails, playing with my dog or husband, polishing my collection of pundit bobbleheads (kidding. i have no such collection. i mean it.), or other insanely fascinating activities which I cannot recall at this particular moment in time.

So, those of you getting a little squeamish over MSNBC’s liberal commentary – screw off! Leave me my guilty pleasures of Matthews and Maddow. At least MSNBC has the balls to keep Joe Scarborough and Pat Buchanan on the payroll. Hell, even my old boss – a Republican Strategist – was on there the other day giving his two cents and looking like a goober.

But the nighttime at MSNBC belongs to those of us who want a bigger voice against the religious, Republican idiocy that has released a plague across our country’s legions of uninformed and uncurious, intolerant and close-minded. There are times I want to yell, Right On! No Shit! Finally, someone said it! And MSNBC gives me that opportunity. And I wouldn’t trade it or sacrifice it for all the vanilla, non-partisan, boring, dignified news in all the world. I get my facts all day. At night, I want something different. And MSNBC gives it to me.

14
Oct
08

Why “Drill, Baby, Drill” Chanters are Idiots

I’m sure most of you who watched the Republican National Convention saw the goobers in hardhats and safety vests which said, “Drill, baby, drill!” Their captain, Rush Limbaugh said June 18,

They’re (Democrats) going to oppose the economic growth of the country. They’re going to oppose your prosperity. They’re going to oppose all of that by standing in the way of this.

They’ve (Democrats) got their talking points and they’re lying through their teeth about it.

Bill Nelson of Florida, one of, ahem, my senators, is out there saying that, (paraphrasing) “Hey, the federal government’s already leased a whole bunch of land to the big oil companies; they’re not even using it.”  It’s such a smoke screen, the number of years left on these leases is very few, and the whole thing is a lie anyway.  I have the figures to prove it.

Entrepreneurs of all stripes, all sizes, create business of all sizes. They’re a wide range. And who is it that always sets out to punish them and destroy them?  Liberals, the American left! Absolutely right, Brian. I could read your lips in there.  Good going.  What does Obama want?  Barack Obama wants you to suffer.  Barack Obama wants higher prices on fuel. right now.  Barack Obama wants a windfall profits tax. right now.  Barack Obama wants to raise your income taxes, by the way, right now.  He wants to raise capital gains taxes, right now.  He wants to raise Social Security taxes, right now.  Obama wants you to suffer.  The Democrat Party wants you in pain.  They want you angry, and they are willing to block any remedy to this problem in order to keep you suffering and in pain and angry.  Obama wants prices up, he wants your income down, and he wants taxes up, ladies and gentlemen.

I know, he’s a crackpot. I recommend reading the whole transcript because it’s incredibly laughable. Let me continue. Here’s Sarah Palin during the VP Debate,

The chant is “drill, baby, drill.” And that’s what we hear all across this country in our rallies because people are so hungry for those domestic sources of energy to be tapped into.

Barack Obama and Senator Biden, you’ve said no to everything in trying to find a domestic solution to the energy crisis that we’re in.

If that’s not enough to make you want to sprinkle cyanide on your cheerios, country singer Aaron Tippin has a new hit, “Drill here, drill now,” you can listen to here. I’m posting the second verse:

Every time a foreign tanker pulls up to our shore
They got us over a barrel while they bleed us a little more
And think how much it costs just to bring it all that way
And how many American jobs that’d make if we were drillin’ in the USA
Oh and God forbid if our oily friends should decide to cut us off
We’d be standin’ around with our britches down now listen to me ya’ll

Perhaps Aaron’s legendary tight pants have seized up blood flow to his brain.

What I’m trying to say is that all these calls for offshore drilling and energy independence have made it clear there’s a drought of information on the Right. I’ve decided to rectify the situation by gathering what we informed people call FACTS to help explain the error in this argument – which many Democrats are perpetuating as well. It’s almost criminal.

So, I beg of you – educate yourself. Even if you don’t want to read my lengthy presentation of reality and possibility, conduct your own research of the effects of increased offshore drilling, the possibility it will lower gas prices, and the addition to jobs and U.S. prominence alternative energy technology will provide.

Here’s my crack at it. It’s long, but it’s worth it. Jesuschrist, it’s worth it.

The clamors for energy independence only surfaced following the rise in gasoline/petrol prices. Because gas prices are largely determined by the decision made by OPEC regarding production levels, Americans are under the incorrect impression that drilling for more hydrocarbon off our shores will provide energy independence and lower gas prices.

OFFSHORE DRILLING ≠ ENERGY INDEPENDENCE ≠ LOW GASOLINE/PETROL PRICES

The American people are uninformed, which is nothing new, and their politicians are doing nothing to correct this problem because they are whores for campaign contributions, which lead them to feed the corporatocracy that is pimping America by trading money for favorable legislation. The oil & gas lobby is one of the biggest john of them all. According to the Federal Election Commission Sept. 2, 2008, and reported by the Center for Responsive Politics, campaign contributions for the 2008 election cycle totalled $22,543,340. Republicans were the most successful streetwalkers, receiving 75 percent of these contributions, while Democrats only garnered 25. Apparently, it’s hard out here for a pimp Democrat.

Because Americans don’t understand the realities of domestic hydrocarbon production, 67 percent answered in the affirmative to the RasmussenReports poll question, “In order to reduce the price of gas, should drilling be allowed in offshore oil wells off the coasts of California, Florida, and other states?” According to the survey, the results of which were released June 17, 64 percent of voters “believe it is at least somewhat likely that gas prices will go down if offshore oil drilling is allowed.” Now, I’m sure you know embittered former pollster for the Clintons, Dick Morris runs RasmussenReports and is now a sweetheart of the Right – which is why they quoted this survey endlessly.

The false assumption is that offshore drilling will lead to energy independence which will lead to lower gasoline prices.

Wrong.

U.S. WOULDN’T OWN OFFSHORE OIL AND GAS ONCE IT IS DRILLED

As Cenk Uygur correctly pointed out of the Huffpo, the United States government does not own all the hydrocarbon that is produced within its borders. The company that is awarded the contract to drill owns the oil or gas and may decide to sell their unrefined product to whomever they like and will likely do so to whoever is the highest bidder, be they India, China, etc. Simply because the U.S. government decides to open leases off Florida, California and ANWR does not automatically assume the U.S. markets will be the recipient of those energy resources.

Secondly, the U.S. refineries are operating near capacity. According to the latest numbers provided by U.S. Department of Energy for July 2008, U.S. refining operable capacity was 17,610,000 barrels per day. Of that capacity, U.S. refineries produced 17,464,000 barrels per day. The last major refinery built in the U.S. began operations in 1976. This is partially due to strict standards set by the EPA and the high cost of such an endeavor, but also NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard), an acronym describing a residential opposition to nearby industrial building. People want to use the oil and gas, they just don’t want to be near the production of their precious energy. With my family from in and around Lake Charles, I can see why.

The point is that politicians – Dems and Repubs alike – encourage the drill, baby, drillers; they just forget to mention that even if we increase offshore drilling, we do not have the refining capacity to ensure those energy reserves serve the American market. Sure, we can loosen environmental standards and attempt to rush the establishment of some refining infrastructure before oil companies bring that offshore hydrocarbon online. But visit Lake Charles for a weekend and decide if you want those big daddies in your backyard or if you would rather just drive less, switch to fluorescent light bulbs and inflate your tires.

U.S. ENERGY COMPANIES WILL CONTINUE TO KEEP PRICES AS HIGH AS THEY CAN

Americans are also assuming that oil and gas companies, in all their benevolence, would flood the American market with hydrocarbon to allow gasoline prices to decrease. Not gonna happen. FOR EXAMPLE, PLS’ ProspectCentre reported Oct. 1, 2008 that Chesapeake Energy, the largest producer of natural gas in the U.S., will “reduce it drilling capex (17%) through year-end 2010 by ~$3.2 billion in response to recent price collapse that has driven gas prices down (~50% since July 1)…Of the capex reduction through 2010, $1.9 billion is associated with reduced drilling activity.” WHAT??? you ask. Gas prices are over $1 more than when Hurricane Katrina hit. My car cost $12.50 to fill up eight years ago and now requires $40. And Chesapeake Energy is reducing drilling because energy prices are falling. Yes, Chesapeake produces natural gas, which is different than gasoline – but prices of energy originating from hydrocarbon sources are closely related.

Translation: Chesapeake Energy is decreasing their drilling of natural gas in order to reduce supply, despite typical ravenous demand of Americans for energy, which will help keep prices high. Politicians have given Americans the idea that American oil and gas (natural gas) companies are operating at capacity and we need to open more leases to bring more energy online in American markets. False. Major companies in the United States are right now decreasing domestic energy production because prices have fallen, causing these companies what they see as budgetary constraints.

The interesting tidbit about Chesapeake’s maneuver is that they’ve done it before. BNET Sept. 27, 2006: “Effective October 1, 2006, the company plans to temporarily shut-in approximately 100 million cubic feet (mmcf) per day of net natural gas production (approximately 125-150 mmcf per day gross) in various areas of operations in the southwestern U.S. until natural gas prices recover from recently depressed levels.” What has happened since the end of 2006? Prices have risen! How surprising! Of course, I’m not suggesting Chesapeake’s activities alone have caused gasoline prices to increase, but I’m giving you an idea of how the oil and gas industry responds to any decrease in gasoline prices.

You see – and this is very important – even if oil and gas were produced as much as possible within American borders and even if refineries were built to handle the capacity of oil and gas sucked out of the ground, oil companies would keep production low. Why? Why? you ask. I will tell you.

The oil companies have discovered that Americans have a high pain tolerance when it comes to energy prices. Americans will let gasoline reach $4.00 a gallon before really pulling back. They will never allow gasoline prices – profits – to fall back to the yesteryear of cheap gas and easy energy. No matter how available or plentiful that energy is domestically, the companies will manipulate the market to keep prices high. Oh, they’ll give us a load of “reduced supply” mishegoss, but make no mistake – they only have eyes for profits. Right now, according to PLS, XTO, EOG and Petrohawk “may watch Chesapeake’s stock to determine if they should follow the same plan.”

The main point is that even if all our hydrocarbon energy supply originates within U.S. borders, prices will remain in the nose-bleeds. Them’s the brakes. Yes, we are currently experiencing a reduction in prices, but it won’t last.

DON’T FORGET ABOUT REFINING

Now let’s assume that we do open all our oil and natural gas reserves to quell demands for more resources. We throw open every lease available off various coasts and in protected wildlife preserves and give them to the exploration and production companies like letting a fat kid loose in a candy store. We would have to assume that demand would remain the same or decrease in order to bring gasoline prices down.

Just one thing. Remember that last refinery that was built in 1976? Yeah, American consumption of energy has increased 25 percent since it was built. If prices are cheap, our consumption will not decrease unless there is a national mandate Americans understand is necessary to preserve our environment and the health of our children. With demand high, prices will remain so as well.

Because American oil and gas demand will always rise above domestic supply – especially with cheap prices – we will never be energy independent as long as our main source of energy is hydrocarbon. Our demand will always outpace domestic supply. Can’t say it enough.

If we do throw open all the leases possible and build refineries to service the American market as much as possible, we will end up polluting the shit out this country. Perhaps this wouldn’t be such a big deal if the only pollution we had to deal with was only that which we create ourselves. It’s not. Pollution from China has already started having worldwide effects – especially in California, where emissions regulations for local industries will have to be sharply curbed to deal with the fallout from China’s production boom.

“GREEN REFINERIES”? SURELY, YOU JEST.

No, I don’t, Willis. There have been recent movements toward establishing “green refineries” – if there is such a thing. Arizona Clean Fuels Yuma fought for seven years and finally received a permit to build a 150,000 barrels-per-day refinery that it says will operate within strict environmental regulations. Hyperion Resources, based in Dallas, is planning an environmentally sound refinery that will turn Canadian crude into low-sulfur gasoline and diesel at a rate of 400,000 barrels per day. According to a Reuters article describing the project, it often takes five years before companies receive the required permits for construction, which can often lead to investors jumping ship.

And if that wasn’t enough to whet your appetite for green gas, Hunton Energy of Houston has proposed the first green refinery on the Texas coast, shooting for a 340,000 barrels-per-day facility to convert Canadian bitumen crude into clean-burning jet fuel and diesel. According to the Houston Chronicle, “Its defining feature is the integration of a gasification facility, which would capture most of the plant’s carbon emissions before they reach the atmosphere.” It will be interesting to see whether this refinery – in ten years, if the project succeeds – will live up to its “green” claims.

There is, however, no definition for “green” and its subjectiveness has allowed it to be used as a major selling tool by energy companies who tend to be colorblind when it comes to the environment. In this case, “green” refers to reduced emissions by the refineries. It does not mean “zero emissions” as such as thing is currently impossible.

Obviously, the greenest refinery will likely do more detriment than wind and solar combined. Although one has to take into account the energy needed to produce a wind turbine, transport it and set up the massive thing (I see them in parts on 18-wheelers all over the highways here in north Texas). How long would a windmill have to generate energy before justifying its very existence? Just a question.

CLEAN COAL, JUMBO SHRIMP, PRETTY UGLY

Still, the term “green refinery” calls to mind another potential oxymoron: “clean coal.” Politicians say it all the time and the term even enjoyed a bit of attention during the recent Vice Presidential Debates. Jeff Biggers of The Washington Post has taken notice as well. He writes in a scathing opinion piece of the coal industry and its treatment by the Bush administration, “Clean coal: Never was there an oxymoron more insidious, or more dangerous to our public health. Invoked as often by the Democratic presidential candidates as by the Republicans and by liberals and conservatives alike, this slogan has blindsided any meaningful progress toward a sustainable energy policy.”

“Clean coal” is referring to reduced emissions from coal-firing plants and efforts are underway around the world to find the means to reduce the environmentally detrimental affects of this energy source. The release of carbon dioxide into the air is one of the biggest offenses of coal use and scientists are trying to discover new means to deal with this greenhouse gas, included rerouting it under ground. Capturing the CO2 is a top priority in “clean coal” technology. According to National Geographic News, however, technologist Gordon Couch, with the International Energy Agency’s Clean Coal Centre in London, says zero-emissions coal power is a realistic goal – though years away.

“NUKULAR” ENERGY

John McCain likes to repeat that nuclear energy is just fine because he served on a Navy ship powered by nuclear energy and all Senator Obama needs to do is talk to one of our sailors serving a nuclear-powered vessel (yeah, because they’re experts) to learn the benefits of this energy. But nuclear plants are some of the most dangerous sources of energy – the fact that Chernobyl and Three Mile Island are household terms is a large indicator of public concern regarding this energy option.

Nuclear waste is an even larger concern. And since no real long-term solution has been found regarding the storage of nuclear waste, it is irresponsible for politicians to tout this as an option for energy independence. Nuclear waste is also tremendously costly to store – the Department of Energy has said the controversial proposed storage facility at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain would cost $96.2 billion to build and operate. France is repeatedly used as a positive example of the use of nuclear energy. However, France reprocesses its nuclear waste – which is banned in the United States due to proliferation risks – and still has leftovers, which it stocks in hopes that, perhaps in 100 years scientists will have found away to eliminate the toxicity of the waste. Bonne chance.

SUSTAINABLE ENERGY…HEAD OUT OF THE ASS

Geothermal Plant in California

Even with the environmental benefits of nuclear energy, the question still looming is the cost-benefit ratio of investing such an enormous amount of funds into a technology that is detrimental in the long-term, rather than positive alternatives: biomass, geothermal, wind, solar, tidal, hydrogen.

Powerful lobbyists, greedy politicians and corporate executives have convinced the more uninformed Americans, including Palin – who chanted, “Drill, baby drill. Mine, baby, mine,” on the stump – that we must turn to domestic oil, gas and coal to increase energy independence, which will bring down gas prices.

I don’t just disagree with them, I have shown that they are wrong. They are incorrect. And almost every source I have provided in this blog is available on the internet.

So, why does the truth not out? Why do Democrats participate in this charade as well? Bucks, dollars, contributions. The building of the United Corporatocracy of America. The oil and gas industry has been the 12th largest campaign contributor to John McCain’s quest for the presidency, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Had we focused our surplus budget and American acumen for technological development on alternative energy sources back in the 1990’s instead of cheap housing developments, we might already be energy independent. Perhaps Detroit wouldn’t be in the economic doldrums. Perhaps we might not be transferring all of our wealth to “countries who do not have our best interests at heart.” But, then ExxonMobil and ConocoPhilips and many other oil & gas companies wouldn’t be receiving record profits this year. Without their political involvement, Halliburton probably wouldn’t have received a number of sweet, no-bid contracts in Iraq from the Bush administration.

Instead, we’re left with “shoulda, woulda, couldas” dangling in front of our rose-colored glasses to the past.

To make matters almost unpalatable, the Right continues to dupe many of its followers – legendary anti-intellectuals, consistent swallowers of Fox News Propaganda who disdain facts, truth, research, reality and education – into believing offshore drilling will produce energy independence and lower gas prices. It won’t. It will only make the same white men richer year after year and worsen our environmental contributions.

RENEWABLE ENERGY IS BEST CHANCE FOR U.S. TO RETAIN GLOBAL PROMINENCE

Renewable alternative energy is our chance to regain and retain our primary position on the world stage. Global citizens are hungry and demanding alternative power and the U.S. has every opportunity to develop it, deliver it, and benefit from it. Like Obama said, renewable resources can give the U.S. the same economic positioning as the computer. Renewable energy technologies could be a major cultivator of domestic jobs and prop the U.S. up again as a major supplier to global market demands.

U.S. domination is subsiding, our economy is not growing as fast as other countries and we are losing our hegemonic status. Instead of tackling this development head on through education and technology, the idiotic dipshits of the Right are attacking our science classes, trying to shrink budgets for math education and calling for the same failed energy policies that will cripple our best chance to retain American greatness.

Republicans are selling our future to win elections now and their mindless followers are not only heading toward that cliff, they want to drag us over the edge with them. It is shameful and embarrassing and hopefully only a footnote in our country’s history. “Drill, baby, drill” is not the answer. It is “Dead Man Walking” for the U.S. economy and perhaps if these people knew exactly what they were proposing, they wouldn’t be trying to doom our country’s attempts to lead the world into the next technological era.

Let me be clear. I am not opposed to increased offshore drilling or increasing refining capacity. I am opposed to presenting it as a method for attaining energy independence and lowering gasoline prices. Such an assertion is untrue and only increase the falsehoods with which many voters make their decisions at the polls. It is harmful to democracy and it is harmful to the economic future and sustainability of this country. We must refocus our priorities to renewable and sustainable energy sources.

UPDATE 10.15.08. FYI, beeyotches, Time (as I spotted on Think Progress) is reporting that despite Sarah Palin’s calls for energy independence, she herself has supported efforts to send domestic hydrocarbon to more-profitable foreign markets.

According to Time, “Palin personally intervened in April, 2007, but her concerns were strictly local. She asked DOE to condition its approval on guarantees that gas needed in Alaska not be diverted to the better-paying foreign venues — a position she held until this past January, when the producers reached separate agreement with the state to meet its needs.

At no time did Palin or her government cite the desire to preserve Alaskan gas for the lower 48 states. The Sempra terminal began operations just four months after Palin announced unconditional support for the Marathon and ConocoPhillips request and a month before DOE approved their plans to export gas to Asia.”

Will the hypocrisy never end???

22
Sep
08

Arguing With Republicans. Is It Worth It?

Or does it just make you want to sign up for a lobotomy? I thought so.

I’ve decided to explore this topic after my sister and her two boys spent last week up here in Fort Worth following the loss of power to their home in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. My sister is not as outspoken as I and lives on a street full of hardcore, lifelong Republicans as is common in Houston. Sucks to be her. Furthermore, she and I are headed for a family visit next week during which we will masochistically immerse ourselves in a cesspool of diehard, Fox News-watching (and believing) Republicans who fly the Confederate flag on Robert E. Lee’s birthday.

Just today I was asked if I’d heard the rumor that Biden was going to bow out of the race just before the VP debate for “health” reasons and Hillary was going to step in as Obama’s new running mate. I can only presume that garbage was aired on Fox because these people do not obtain information from any other source. Perhaps Rush Limbaugh permeated their commons sense barrier as well, but I cannot know for sure. In any case, pro-Republican media sources are just one long circle-jerk, so it doesn’t really matter where they get their information (see comments below). It all goes back to Satan in the long run.

Intellectual debate is one of the highlights of my life. I loved living in Austin for just that reason. No matter which bar you entered, the scene was ripe for spicy discussion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or the leading causes of war or the pros and cons of limited government. Agreeing and disagreeing had nothing to do with the shared enjoyment of testing and rehashing arguments as round after round was purchased into the wee hours. I rarely saw my sparring partners again, but those conversations stay with me.

In Fort Worth, of course, the vast majority of people here are Conservative Republicans who pride themselves on their bumper stickers indicating which pricey christian private school they send their children. I’m in a FreeThinkers group and love the conversation there – though we tend to agree with each other most of the time. But living in Fort Worth does at times make me yearn for the ubiquitous open-mindedness of Austin’s citizens and bar patrons.

Living in a town like this or on my sister’s street in Houston constantly begs the question of appropriateness  of political debate. I’m outspoken and have little need for the approval of others, but also don’t have very tight relationships with my neighbors. When my sister’s neighbor across the street exclaimed, “Democrats suck!”, it was clear that arguing with the person would be unproductive and even less enjoyable. So why even threaten a relationship with a good neighbor, however politically bassackward they may be? It’s a question that will last through the ages.

In a previous blog, I discussed that our unwillingness to insert politics in “polite” conversation inhibits progress and stymies debate which is essential to a healthy democracy. We look to intellectual debate to be worthwhile, fulfill us, get our blood pumping, have fun, learn new things and test our acquired knowledge – not to wear us down, leave us worn and ragged and hopeless.

So, when is arguing with Republicans worth it? Here’s my hypothesis:

Arguing with Republicans is always worth it if they’re informed. Most of the Republicans I know are fairly well-informed, though most of them are also not regular church goers. I don’t know if that has anything to do with it, I just thought I’d put that out there. And while arguing with uninformed Republicans is akin to taking candy from a baby, it’s about as productive and fun as preparing for a triathlon by playing golf. I leave those discussions thinking, “What a dumbass!” rather than, “Oooh, that’s something to think about” or “That was fun” or “I shouldn’t drink so much if I’m going to have to recall shit from my AP History class.”

Arguing with Republicans is worth it if they use curse words in their every day vernacular rather than just when they’re angry. People who do not ever use curse words generally have some form of a stick up their ass. These people are not fun to be around in any event, let alone in a political arena. Even my own mother says “Shit!” every now and then. Those who can roll with the punches, play loosey-goosey and see the value in sarcasm are always worthy of a place in the forbidden world of political debate.

The previous rule applies to Republicans who drink alcohol and especially if they smoke weed. If they are a teetotaler, chances are they are wound pretty friggin tight and could erupt like Mount Vesuvius at any moment. Any real debate with these people should be left to the TV screen, no doubt peppered by the teetotaler’s spittle after images of nudity or Obama surging in the polls are projected.

Fiscal Repubilicans are always worth arguing with much more than Conservative Republicans. In theory, many of the fiscal Republican tenets make sense; they simply do not work in reality. Trickle-down wealth, lack of regulation, free market, etc. They sound good. They just don’t work. The problem with Conservative Republicans, however, is that they are one issue voters. Abortion in particular. For example, last week Ben Stein was on Larry King sternly criticizing the manner with which Republicans have handled this economy and are handling this specific economic crisis. After Robert Reich suggested he support Obama for just those reasons, Stein said, “No, it would not solve my problem with right to life, I’m afraid.”

One issue voters, mainly evangelicals, are the worst. They are uninformed and do what they’re told regardless of the consequences. There is no depth to their thought process and their leaders are unethical and unaccountable. I will not shy from an argument with these yahoos, but I also do not expect any positive result from these conversations. Most of the time, I have to present the flaws in christianity first because it is christianity that serves as the foundation for these people’s close-mindedness.

In general, if the Republican is cool and doesn’t take a quality discussion on the issues personally – you have the green light. If you’re like me and have no problem discussing politics with any schmo – even the racist ones – have at it! Enjoy it and remember that the discussion is what is important, not dominating, not winning or convincing. Simply having the discussion is productive. Especially if it’s over a good beer. I would avoid getting loud and redfaced – which can be hard after a few libations – but some of my best friends are knowledgable, fun Republicans and I wouldn’t have them any other way.

08
Jul
08

Freaky Friday: John Edwards & Karl Rove to Debate

Did anyone catch this last Friday? The Buffalo News has learned that the University of Buffalo intends to include in its Distinguished Speaker Series a debate between John Edwards and Karl Rove on September 26. John Edwards and Karl Rove. Naturally, my mind immediately searches for the nearest comparison to such an unpredictable and unlikely competition of the minds (I use that term loosely).

The fastest duo to surface is, of course, Dopey vs. Beelzebub. But that’s too easy. I’m looking for something more nuanced. More apropos. Barbie vs. Cobra Commander? No…. Nemo vs. Ursula? No…. Luke Sykwalker vs. Jabba the Hutt? No! Not even close. John Edwards has no Force.

Gumby vs. Squealer from Animal Farm. That’s it.

Yes, I remember that John Edwards is a former trial attorney, but the images of him getting smoked by Dick Cheney in 2004 are seared into my brain. And while Karl Rove may have the morality of a dung beetle, his ability to misrepresent facts with a straight face is supernatural and would require Edwards to acquire an encyclopedic knowledge of politically-related statistics and their sources to properly refute Rove’s machinations. My not-so-amateur prediction is that John ain’t got the stuff. And I’m being kind.

If the debate is televised, I will certainly perform the masochistic duty of viewing the event – with a fist firmly planted between my teeth. Naturally, I try to avoid having Rove’s visage offend my home from the television and relegate my involvement with him by reading his erroneous comments online. Blech.

In the meantime, I’m going to entertain myself with paint.net and make fun graphics with hopeful themes.

john edwards curshes rove\'s ehad

john edwards crushes rove

I made Rove’s eyes red, but they may be too small to tell.
And did you see the headline on The Huffington Post this morning that Rep. Henry Waxman is considering legislation that would prevent a White House employee from being paid by taxpayer money to work on political affairs? He might wait until Obama is elected to launch this legislative attempt.
I’m encouraged by the possibility that Obama will roll back a number of powers Bush and Cheney concentrated at the executive level. McCain, of course, would not. Checks and balances are so silly, aren’t they?!
And one last tidbit of morning news – let’s give Howard Wolfson a big round of applause and wish him good luck as he joins Fox News. In a way I get it – he wants to bring a democratic voice to the network. But I also think he’s selling his soul to do it. Although, he seemed comfortable bending the truth when he worked for Hillary, so maybe he’ll fit right in.



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