Was it Voltaire or Descartes? I don’t remember…the Age of Enlightenment was centuries ago, and at the time I first heard about it, I was concentrating on the Cartesian curves of Mlle. Daphné, a young woman in my high school French class. Je désire, donc je suis.
Anyway, something one of those periwigged philosophers wrote actually managed to penetrate my teenage hormonal haze and take root.
“What if everything we’ve heard about God, creation, the purpose of Man, the soul, and divine salvation are all just a big joke (I paraphrase)? Even if that’s so, and we simply disappear into a void at the end, isn’t expressing a moral life of probity, humility and compassion for one’s fellow man the best way to live? Then, if we happen to find out when we die that it’s all for real, we are saved.”
If you extend this line of thinking, then maybe practicing good stewardship of our planet is worthy in its own right, even if climate change isn’t the result of man’s actions.
There’s no question that we pollute. Accessible, potable fresh water for millions of the world’s population is only a dream. In many places, people get diseases and die from the poor air quality.
Why not just pretend we’re to blame, and act accordingly, even if we can’t accept the fact? That way, there’s no chance of finding out we were wrong after it’s too late to do anything about it.
Some of us may be old enough to remember Nikita Khrushchev's famous utterance, "We will bury you," from 1956. He didn't exactly mean it the way it sounds--it was a loose translation made by someone who obviously didn't understand Russian very well. He meant that capitalism would fall on its own accord from bloat and topheaviness, and that Communists would be shovel-ready to pile dirt on the corpse.
He was wrong about a lot of things, including which Communists would be doing the burying. Modern-day China, whose political and economic system would give Karl Marx an aneurism, is delighted to shower us with a panoply of defective and poisonous goods that we are happy to purchase at places like Wal-Mart because they are less expensive than their American-made competition used to be, back when America was making stuff.
Lead in our children's toys, melamine in our pet food, and now some mysterious gas trapped in our drywall that sabotages our air conditioning and rots the wiring in our flat-screen TVs...could it all be part of a mysterious Manchurian Candidate-type plot to rot us from within? A silent, creeping terrorism that we won't be aware of until it's too late?
Confucius say: He who buy cheap junk always get more than he bargain for.
When I began sketching this cartoon, I realized that I had never drawn Nancy Pelosi before, which seems surprising considering how much she has been in the news. Or, maybe I was just having a senior moment.
Cartoonists are always hypersensitive to facial quirks and details--after all, it's our job. I think anyone would admit, though, that our fair Speaker wasn't born with eyebrows that far up on her forehead (I'm not talking about the cartoon).
Getting to more serious stuff, my editor and I agree that the way out of our dependency on oil is not to drill for more, but to add a consumption tax on the petroleum products we use (while providing means to offset the tax's effect on the needy). It would force us to conserve and to find alternatives in our personal lives, while funding research into other forms of energy.
Makes a lot of sense, even though it'll never happen...especially with people around like Nancy Pelosi who can't think past the next election.
If we needed some kind of a signal that President Bush considers himself in the home stretch, this is probably it. No longer concerned with his polling numbers, which are in the toilet, he has decided it's time to start distributing plums to his friends.
A recent Presidential directive that does not need the approval of Congress now allows his business-friendly regulatory agencies to approve projects (self-regulate!) without getting the necessary clearances from Fish and Wildlife and the EPA. Creatures whose survival stand in the way of progress have long been a bane of the plutocrats, and now we can satisfy ourselves with photos of what they used to look like. Since Vice-President Cheney prefers shooting his cronies to shooting quail, even he probably won't miss the wildlife anymore.
It doesn't really surprise me that 60 percent of Americans believe that allowing offshore drilling is going to have some kind of immediate downward effect on gas prices, rather than a decade-and-a-half from now. Desperate people grasp at straws, because they WANT to believe so badly.
It's also no surprise that the politicians pushing offshore drilling the hardest are the ones from states farthest from any coastline. I can just imagine the folks jawbonin' about it down at the tire and supply store now: "Shux...who cares about Florida? I been to Disney World. They ain't even got a coastline there, so what are them folks bellyachin' about? And that there ANWR. Just a buncha caribou. Not like they're cattle or nuthin'. I got me a mighty thirsty VEE-hickle outside to fill, and if this lops a coupla cents off a gallon, I say bring on the slick! Leastways, we won't be buyin' it from the A-rabs."
It's almost too easy for the oil companies.
Continue reading "Offshore Drilling scam" »
The last athlete left standing wins the gold. Since we won't be able to make out through the haze who's on the podium, it's time to bone up on our national anthems.
Knowing the Chinese entrepreneurial spirit, chances are somebody in Shanghai will see this blog post and start producing these things by the hundreds of thousands.
Somebody wrote in when I did a cartoon last week about Gov. Charlie Crist's flip-flop on offshore drilling. Normally, I dismiss the comments of people who use the combination "you liberals" as just name-calling in order to avoid presenting a reasoned argument for their premise.
This gave me pause, though, because I have never thought of the environment or climate change as a liberal/conservative issue. I did watch "The Exterminator" (former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, so named because of his previous profession as a bug man) on TV one night espousing the official stance of the Republican Party, which is that there is no scientific proof that climate change is caused by human activity. I guess it's just one of the holy mysteries.
Anyway, last I heard, even conservatives have children and grandchildren whose future well-being they worry about, which is why we should reconsider this not as a political issue, but a moral one. Then we could work on it together.
Who would have thought Governor Charlie would want to be Vice-President so badly that he'd pull this kind of craven flip-flop on coastal oil drilling? Personally, I never gave him credit for having that much ambition.
If McCain chooses him in hopes he'll deliver Florida for the Republicans in November, he might find the Governor to be damaged goods in his home state after this news gets around.
Maybe the polar bear will survive until the next administration takes over.