Tuesday, April 06, 2010


Even though I sometimes scroll through 2 or 3 pages of ‘comments’ on some stories or op-ed pieces, I rarely look at anything beyond the first few anymore…if that. I guess what I’m getting at is this: what drives a person to make a comment on a story when they see a meter saying that 1,234 people have already commented? Do you like yelling at a wall? Do you think anyone is going to, first of all, find your comment; and, secondly, send or post you a response saying how moved they were by your entry? Or, is it the yelling at the wall that gives people some sort of release? I’m also wondering about my online class this quarter (this being my first ever) that requires me to participate online, in commentary and threads, at least four days per week. I think there’s something like 25 folks in the ‘class’ and we all have a daily assignment to post and then we’re to post those additional four times about someone else’s entry. What are the odds that I, and I’m pretty diligent, am going to read beyond the first or second threat before I post? Zero, those are the betting odds. There’s no way I’m reading all 25 entries on three topics each day and then reading all the threads and finding what might tickle my fancy – not a chance. Of course, online isn’t the best way to learn and I understand this attempt at interaction but there really isn’t going to be any. Yelling at a wall.

Drilling and Obama. This is a parallel to a discussion the Eleven had about insulating a rental house that we might spend 3-5 years occupying but that is for another another another time. My first reaction, mild as it was, was that he was caving in on a campaign pillar and was ready to start drilling off the Atlantic and Alaskan coasts. My second reaction was stronger, and a counterweight, and fell in line with what we’ve seen of Obama for the last 16 months: patience. Let this develop and then determine its success. Third, maybe this is a bit political and I’m fine with that feeling. Taking it backwards now, if this is a political move then it simply has shut the door on the stupid “Drill, baby, drill” motto of Palin. If I never hear that again or see another sign in a yard calling for a fifteen-year fix to a “this summer” problem, then my days will be happier. Here’s a bit of the transcript of the speech:

“So today we're announcing the expansion of offshore oil and gas exploration, but in ways that balance the need to harness domestic energy resources and the need to protect America's natural resources. Under the leadership of Secretary Salazar, we'll employ new technologies that reduce the impact of oil exploration. We'll protect areas that are vital to tourism, the environment, and our national security. And we'll be guided not by political ideology, but by scientific evidence.

That's why my administration will consider potential areas for development in the mid and south Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, while studying and protecting sensitive areas in the Arctic. That's why we'll continue to support development of leased areas off the North Slope of Alaska, while protecting Alaska's Bristol Bay.”

Of course, exploration, not drilling is the phrase he uses and that also says something about the patience and process involved in what he’s trying to accomplish. That sort of mitigates that first impression of caving, which I’ll get to in a second.

The patience part is just learned, the hard way. Being a liberal – and a Democrat – I often get swallowed up in waiting for the right thing, my priority, to get done. In the arena we’re living in that just isn’t going to happen. Maybe there will be 6-8 major successes in Obama’s first four years and maybe 3 or 4 will perfectly align with my hopes but that’s good enough, isn’t it? If the others are of benefit to the nation as a whole then I can live with it. It takes time. It takes effort. We’ll get there.

Now, about the caving part. If I believe in what I think I believe in, then drilling for oil domestically is neither here nor there on the grand scale. There are two parts to this process and the first is that America needs to use less energy. If this move, away from buying foreign oil (or oil from ‘terrorist’ gub’ments; remember that most of our foreign oil imports come from Canada – almost three times more than any other single country), then this is a great move. If we want to drill here and use our oil product as our primary supply then we have some serious usage to cut back on: and that fits perfectly into my hopes. What is the political challenge or response to not buying oil from our ‘enemies’ any more and using our own oil, even if it’s not enough? Are people going to start yelling for us to buy more oil from OPEC during the next election? The second, and even more damning portion, is the idea of a world environment. Why is it okay for oil and coal to be drilled and mined as long as it isn’t in America? If one were to believe the scientists (and who does? Those crazy malcontents) about global warming then it isn’t any better to drill here or there – drilling is drilling. And with that, I happened to trust this Administration to do a better job of protecting the environment, so I’ve got little problem with this decision. And, before anyone gets up in arms, this isn’t the same position the Republicans had in the last election. Their position was, and is, use more energy and in order to meet that demand drill more here. Drill more there. Drill some from my bones.

What this will be, in the end, is a policy that will allow us explore our options here, drill here if needed, and if that’s done then using it as a frontal attack on our energy consumption. When you look at from the point-of-view that environmental issues are not blocked by borders then it makes perfect sense.

And, to give you and idea of how the long view usually wins out if the strength is there…

As I said above, I don’t always get these things out of my wee head – X dives in, sorts it all out, and gives me the down-and-dirty as she sips on her wine and reads her Lucky magazine. Is that both a compliment and stereotype? Ah, whatever.


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