Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Sure, the Republicans are VERY concerned about rising gas prices, right? After all, people like Senator Specter (R-PA) have expressed a "willingness" to explore the merits of a windfall tax on the oil companies. National Litterbox Bush himself has come out and criticized the oil companies and called for the repeal of $2 billion in tax breaks to an industry that he finally realized that doesn't need them, or did he? Hastert says that he expects oil companies to do their part to relieve the suffering of America's families. Sounds good, right?

Bush's solution? Ease environmental controls on the oil industry. It is a brilliant Machiavellian move that serves to kill two birds with one stone. First, it takes off the heat from the oil companies as gas prices will fall a bit. Second, Bush can then tout his "reform" and getting rid of environmental regulations which he claims are driving the price of gas sky-high.

Bush said the Federal Trade Commission, the Justice Department and the Energy Department were investigating whether the price of gasoline has been unfairly manipulated. The administration also contacted all 50 state attorneys general to offer technical assistance to urge them to investigate possible illegal price manipulation within their jurisdictions.

Right, this is another example of the fox guarding the henhouse. It is only posturing so that the GOP can actually look like they're concerned and doing something about the rising gasoline prices.

The free market capitalists always blame environmental regulations for rising gas prices. Furthermore, the assistant professor who wrote this article discredited himself by using such sophomoric logic as "Environmentalists are not actually concerned with the well-being of man. Their real motive is to sacrifice man to nature by stopping industrial activity. This is what they explicitly state. For instance, Adam Kolton of the Alaska Wilderness League states, "Drilling the wildest place in America is objectionable no matter how it's packaged." Nowhere does it say that Kolton advocates bringing down the standard of living for Americans in the name of nature. This is more scare tactics by capitalists and right-wingers to persuade the sheep that environazis who make up the "Fourth Reich" are to blame for their troubles. The administration tried to blame environmentalists for Hurricane Katrina to distract Americans from the fact that it was under the Litterbox Administration that work on the levees stopped for the first time in 37 years due to it SLASHING the Army Corps of Engineer's budget. Sure Bush apologists can claim the budget was cut from presidents like Carter and even Clinton, but they cannot get past the fact that work never stopped under those administrations.

The economists' solution: de-regulation after all, regulation drives up prices and forces the oil companies not to build anymore refineries because of exorbitant prices. Well that's bullshit to be blunt. Memos show that it was the oil companies themselves who created artificial shortages to drive up profits themselves and used the regulation itself as an excuse. The major oil companies actually PREVENTED a smaller oil company from reopening up a refinery in California (warning PDF file). Gee, there goes the ENVIRONMENTALISTS ARE TO BLAME myth. IN ADDITION, the companies themselves would reduce refinery production and then turn it around and blame the regulations which many of them supported.

To top it all off, the Republicans are playing the same shell game the oil companies are with their cheap Napoleonic talk with Lilliputian results. The GOP blocked any measure that would have boosted taxes on Big Oil today, proving which side they are really on. I'll give you a hint, Bush voters. It's not you, no matter how much he touts his opposition to gay marriage and abortion, issues designed to distract you from its economic policies that piss on you while calling it badly-needed rain. Don't you get it? Rhetoric DOES NOT equal the results in the GOP party. The Party of God is nothing more than a wolf in sheep's clothing. They claim to be the populist party while the Democrats are the party of snobbish liberal and Hollywood elites who truly are the ones pissing on all of you while those poor oil company CEOs struggle to put food on their families, truly oppressed by the big, bad environmentalists who think that a $400 million retirement package is too excessive when $400 million can barely feed a CEO's family and buy heating for the long and cold winters.

In the homework center I work for, the kids have a game called "Opposite Day" where everything is turned upside down. They say stuff like I don't want to go get a drink of water," etc and no for yes and vice versa. It's cute when they do it but is it just me or is the GOP in perpetual opposite day mode? Everything they say is contradicted by everything they do. Clear Skies = dirtier air, Healthier Forests = Healthier Profits for Lumber Companies, Leave No Child Behind = Leave Any Child who is not rich behind, etc.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Today is a VERY important anniversary and as always we must be mindful of the CATS!

Rome was founded today in 753 BC...2759 years ago (I hope my math is correct as there was no year zero). Gratias agamus to the feral cats who watch over Rome and prevent it from being destroyed completely.

Every tourist visiting Rome senses it: Rome's cats are different. Unlike the cuddly and sometimes aloof balls of fur you're likely to know and love, Rome's cats, the ones you see, are largely feral, prowling ancient monuments as if they owned them and answering to no one.

That's because THEY OWN THEM! We visit the ancient sites as if they were ours but we are only borrowing them from the CATS who graciously allow us to view them. Rome has done right to its guardians, declaring them a part of their bio-heritage.

and please visit Friends of Roman Cats whose mission statement goes as follows:

Friends of Roman Cats (FORC) is guided by the desire to help homeless cats through international cooperation and educational initiatives. Our goal is to support and disseminate ideas and practices taken from the U.S. feral cat community and from a cat sanctuary in Rome known as Torre Argentina. We believe that an exchange of ideas can benefit attitudes toward homeless cats in both the United States and Italy.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Slippery Slope

It is my hope that the American taliban can learn to accept that not everyone will accept their standards of morality, ethics, or religion. I shall turn to a story that made the rounds a week ago in Kansas where the State Board of Education recently voted to redefine the science standards that cast doubt on evolution.

I have no problem against Intelligent Design. If you believe in God, you should be free to believe that perhaps he steered the course of evolution. What I have a problem is the slippery slope.

Connie Morris, a member of the State Board of Education has requested that a middle school teacher take down a cartoon of the famous Flying Spaghetti Monster which was created to mock Kansas' debate on teaching evolution. Why? Apparently it offended her.

Which brings me to my point. Academic freedom. Apparently to the fundies and the more conservative factions, it means the freedom to impose their own views on everyone else. Right-wingers have always complained about the liberal bias in the schools whether it'd be civics or history. Well, I'm sorry to say but the facts throughout our history are biased towards liberals. Is it bias when you teach that there were some conservatives on Wall Street who urged Lincoln to appease the South because they feared war would bring about another crash? Is it bias to teach that conservatives were against federal anti-lynching laws being proposed?

If they want their academic freedom, let them have it but let them if they want to teach Intelligent Design, let them also teach that the Higher Power may not necessarily be God. It can be a bunch of other deities from whatever religion you follow. Perhaps it's a Great Cat who brought forth the universe with a meow. Perhaps the universe emerged from Chaos as in Hesiod's Theogony. Why not teach some of the Native American myths while you're at it? I mean the concept of an intelligent designer is supposed to be neutral right? Let's see how long it takes for the fundies to reject this compromise.

The danger is that there is a movement that is seeking to censor anything it deems offensive. The Flying Spaghetti Monster is deemed offensive because it mocks and parodies the Creation Myth of Genesis. In Alabama, they were contemplating removing all books by gay authors or that which contains gay characters from public libraries. Books like The Color Purple would have been gone under this new era of book-burning. The sponsor of the bill wanted to EVEN BAN Shakespeare who is a mainstay of any English class whether it's high school or college. Sure he backed down on that, but if we set a precedent, how are we to know that we won't fall down the slippery slope AGAIN?

As a Classics major who is considering going on in either Classics or Psychology, it is in my deepest interest to see that they do not touch the things I and countless other Classics majors hold dear. Is Greek Mythology to be banned? After all, there are episodes of mythological characters such as Zeus and Ganymede which probably would not meet the American Taliban's standards. Moving further on, is Classics also to be banned? After all, there are many examples of pederasty found in ancient Greece. So are we to ban Plato too? Are all references to Socrates who advocated chaste pederasty to be purged from our books?

The slippery slope is a scary place and if we don't stop the Taliban, we will just embolden them to reshape our society until there is nothing left of the institutions we hold dear. This movement would rather have thousands of women get cervical cancer than to vaccinate them against the HPV virus because it believes that if you allow them to obtain vaccinations, then women will think that it's alright to go out and screw anyone they please. (Notice they don't say much about condoms.) This movement would rather impose their abstinence programs than to educate youth about safe sex. This movement would prefer our public schools system done away with, replaced with heaven knows what, voucher systems that move towards a system where education will only be a gift of those who can afford it and those who are of the right faith (Another example of the National Litterbox Adminstration's desire to PRIVATIZE EVERYTHING). This movement would like to impose their own psuedoscientific "research" that "proves" that homosexuals are diseased while purging any research that suggests that homosexuality is NOT a choice. May we stop them in their tracks before they completely corrupt the minds of our youth in the name of God.
If they want their own standards, let them have them, but over my dead body will they impose it on all of society. Considering the many examples we have of fundies either murdering people, soliciting sex from prostitutes, divorcing, or molesting their own children, perhaps they should look toward themselves and work towards bettering themselves.

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