Thursday, March 17, 2005

Wilderness -- Who Needs It?

So the Senate voted yesterday to allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. I do not have sufficient words to express my contempt for those 51 senators. I hope that all across the land today, people who live in the states of those 51 senators are recruiting and funding serious opponents for them in their next election and that they will all lose their jobs because of this. My senators, I'm happy to say, were not part of the dark side.

I tried, but could not find through googling, a letter Michael Moore had written during the 2000 presidential campaign in which he assured Nader supporters that bad things would not happen if they voted for Nader and Bush got elected instead of Gore. The letter was primarily about Roe v. Wade and how Moore would not be lured into voting for Gore because of dire predictions about Bush getting Roe v. Wade overturned. Moore assured his readers that such a thing could never happen. He listed several dire predictions about a Bush win and called them "scare tactics." I can't remember if he mentioned ANWR. As it seems that the Bush administration is successfully dismantling many of the things we cherish, I'd love to find that letter from 2000 and make a scorecard from it.

Oops! It might sound like I'm blaming Michael Moore for this. Not at all. Well, not much. There are a lot of people who deserve more blame than Moore and Nader. I suggest we all look in the mirror to see who to blame. Anyone who uses oil has a share of the blame. Why don't we all resolve, in addition to calling our senators and imploring them to stop this crime at the next step of the legislative process, to reduce our fossil fuel use, even fractionally.

Those who are willing to make a big, bold move might consider getting rid of their cars. Others might try converting one trip a week from car to bike or other alternative. Still too much? How about this -- when driving to the mall, park at the first open space you encounter. That will save the gas required to drive another 50 ft. for a closer space, plus you will get a little exercise.

One of my pet peeves is seeing vehicles -- usually large, gas-guzzling SUVs -- idling for minutes in a parking lot in wait for a closer space that someone is vacating when an open space is not more than 20 ft. away! It is absolutely senseless. Another pet peeve is parked vehicles with engines running. I see this every day when I'm walking my kids to school. Sometimes cars will be parked outside a house for many minutes (15 from the time I first pass to the return pass) with engines running, presumably so the driver will not have to get in a cold vehicle. Then around the school in the afternoon, almost every parent waiting for pickup has the engine running, even if they are 10 minutes early. Rule of thumb: if more than one minute will lapse before you will move the car, then turn the engine off! Do this and you might save one of the last pristine wildernesses on the planet!

March Madness

It's time to return to my winning horse. Duke's opener is tomorrow night. In my new role as obsessed fan, I've made a bracket and plan to be closely following all the action for the next three weeks. I have Duke beating Louisville in the national championship game, which will be karmic payback for Louisville beating Duke in the same game my senior year, thus denying the best basketball class ever (Mark Alarie, Johnny Dawkins, Jay Bilas, David Henderson, Weldon Williams) a deserved national championship. I doubt anyone else has Duke and Louisville playing for the national championship this year, but as I said, I'm in a time warp, so there you have it.

Happy St. Patrick's Day! The leprechauns visited our house last night and left the kids little chocolate coins wrapped in gold. My 8-year-old was delighted.

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