Friday, June 18, 2010

The Speech Obama Should Have Delivered

Rachel Maddow should be the US Press Secretary, or at least on staff at the White House as a speech writer, because she delivered a far better message than Pres. Obama:
Maddow's ideas about needed adjustments to our current oil policies are dead on:
  • Recognize that the oil industry (not just BP) has lied to us about the safety of its operations.
  • Prevent putting America at the risk of national environmental disaster ever again.
  • Moratorium on oil drilling until safety has been proven.
  • Fix the regulations and the regulators.
  • Make oil companies prove that they can deal with all the possible risks before they are allowed to drill on our coasts.
  • Direct BP to fund boom and skim clean-up training and mobilize every resource to clean-up.
  • Get America off oil dependency:
    • Senate to pass Energy Bill.
    • Targets for renewable energy and alternative sources to be doubled or tripled.
    • Some other details from David Sandalow's "Freedom from Oil"
  • If you agree that "The Oil Age is Over", tell your Senator.
For over 30 years, Presidents and environmentalists have been pleading for the US to stop its addiction to oil. But that hasn't happened, Why? Because America tops the list in oil consumption (almost three times that of #2, China), and the US military is the largest consumer of oil in the world to keep its Hummers rolling, its ships afloat, and its jets flying. Our US Air Force uses 2.5 billion gallons of fuel each year and that number is rising each year. Except for nuclear powered submarines and aircraft carriers, almost all military vehicles and craft (including those joining the forces in the next ten years) operate on petroleum-based fuels.
Our dependence on oil might be easier to break if we were to fully burden the price of gasoline with the true cost of oil. The price of $75 for a 50-gallon barrel of oil needs to be factored in with the cost of protecting our oil imports, government subsidies to lease land to oil companies at deeply discounted rates, the costs of pollution (the BIG one today), and the overall effect on our global climate. For now, let's just ignore the cost of all the lives lost directly and indirectly to our oil addiction. Experts estimate that if our price at the pump were burdened with all the true costs, that it would be closer to $5 to $8 per gallon. 

A fill-up for $150 makes that electric car sound pretty reasonable now, huh? 

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Berry Pickin'

This morning after walking  Mac and Angie, Spyke and I left the house at 8:00 am and drove up the road a couple miles to pick blueberries at Southland Farm just south of Earleton proper. 

They give you one big bucket with a handle and another little "picker" bucket on a cord that goes around your neck so you can pick with both hands (for those who are that talented). Then you head off into the rows of blueberry bushes, most of which are about 8 feet tall and select your spot to begin. Sharon likes to head for the back rows with some fantastic notion that the "really big ones" are back there. I like to pick one of the first rows available to see if they've been picked yet and use those valuable few seconds it takes to walk to the back to start picking. 

The blueberries were abundant and delicious. It took us just four bushes picking only on one side to gather 5 lbs each in less than an hour. We came home with a little over 10 lbs of blueberries for $26. In spite of it being very warm, there was a nice breeze and the sun was still low enough that it didn't start getting too bad until we were leaving. Glad to have it done now and sitting inside good ole US AC. 

On one bush, I discovered a bird nest with some hungy youngin's in it. I was tempted to drop a juicy berry in one of the chicks' gaping mouths, but I resisted. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pull My Finger

The 2010 Hurricane Season started on June 1, and the forecast for this year sounds bad. Predictions are calling for 14-23 named storms, with 8-14 hurricanes, 7 going onto land, and 3 to 7 of those to be "major" hurricanes (category 3 or higher - winds of at least 111 mph). So, even after admitting the inaccuracies in the predictions, there is still a good chance that we'll run through most of the allotted storm names before the season ends on November 30th.
Alex, Bonnie, Colin, Danielle, Earl, Fiona, Gaston, Hermine, Igor, Julia, Karl, Lisa, Matthew, Nicole, Otto, Paula. Richard, Shary, Tomas, Virginie, Walter
For those of you who have been following along, Alex was also the name of the first hurricane of 2004. While Alex's eye did not make landfall, the storm was close enough to the eastern coast to wreak a lot of damage. And then Bonnie, Colin, Danielle, and Earl were also hurricanes in 1998, although Earl has already made five appearances (1980, 1986, 1992, 1998, and 2004), so he has really worn out his welcome
We can only hope that when the storms do come that they don't pick on the unprepared and that they just dump some rain where it's needed. Then, when the Jamboree rolls around at the end of November, we'll have something to celebrate and give thanks for.
This Non Sequitur cartoon on Monday made me chuckle. Maybe it will give us something to laugh about when we are cowering in our closet: