Sarah and I attended a lecture by Molly Ivins at the University of Wisconsin last night. Her speech was good, but it didn’t quite measure up to her writing. Her phrase "jack-booted fascism" seems to describe the nation’s current administration fairly and accurately. In case you missed this recent news article, Iraq has an oil shortage. Jay Garner, the Bush administration’s hand-picked, jack-booted, fascist administrator of Iraq, says that the reason there is no gasoline in the country is that U.
N. sanctions stop oil from being imported for the country's domestic use. Yes, that's right. Iraq needs to import oil for domestic use. Why might a country we recently conquered which just happens to have the second-largest (or third, depending on your source) proven oil-reserves in the world be suffering an oil shortage? Why might a country that can pump over two million barrels of oil a day suddenly have to rely on oil imports that are constrained by the UN? That’s right. Many, if not most, of those barrels of oil are going overseas. Remember during Bush's war how the oil fields, pipelines and such were seized early, and guarded well? Remember how the Iraqi Oil Ministry was surrounded by troops while the Iraqi National Museum was looted? Apparently, we are supposed to forgot that there is only one nation on the Earth that has more oil than Iraq, while there is no nation on Earth that uses more oil than the United States. The Bush administration continues its drive to declare small airplanes a grave and imminent threat to national security. Last week, the government implored private plane owners and operators to spy on their fellow pilots and report any suspicious behavior or luggage to the authorities. They did this because the Homeland Insecurity department feels that small planes are the next generation of terrorist weapons. The general feeling among the free-thinkers that make up the Homeland Insecurity department and the Justice department is that there are thousands of terrorists out there with Cessnas and Pipers who are just waiting for the order to load up the 152 with plastique and take out a bridge somewhere. Who are they kidding? Add up the number of planes that are filled with explosives in any given year and flown into targets on the ground worldwide. This number has to be less than ten, and I’d be comfortable wagering that the number is actually less than three. (Remember that the planes used on September 11, 2001 used no explosives, but were just very large planes filled with prodigious quantities of jet fuel.) Now add up the number of car and truck bombings in the world every year. This number is probably at least a hundred or so. Now consider the number of planes in the US versus the number of trucks and cars. Doesn’t it seem more likely that a car or truck bomb (or a series of car or truck bombs) would prove more devastating and unexpected than a small airplane filled with explosives? Also, consider how many explosives a small airplane can carry. A Cessna 152 is overweight for takeoff with just two adults in it who each weigh 180 pounds. A Ford Excursion can comfortably haul eight adults, many of whom are over 180 pounds. If terrorists were interested in delivering the most explosives to a given location, wouldn’t it make sense to use a car or truck, rather than an airplane? Of course, the administration doesn’t want to annoy everyone who drives everywhere, nor the automakers, so they concentrate their fascist tendencies on the small number of pilots, rather than the uncountable numbers of car and truck drivers. Someone in our grocery store checkout line tonight was buying a twelve pack of Diet Caffeine-free Doctor Pepper and one pint of cultured buttermilk. The checkout clerk said, "I’ll need to see some ID." The customer said, "Huh?" This scene repeated itself several times until the clerk decided that there was no minimum age required to purchase water flavored with chemicals and a dairy product. However, to be on the safe side, I recommend bringing two forms of ID the next time you make a quick trip to the store for a gallon of milk. Sarah and I saw "Bowling for Columbine" over the weekend. If you have not seen this movie, find a movie theater near you, and see this movie RIGHT NOW. Why are you still reading this? Which part of RIGHT NOW was unclear? "Bowling for Columbine" is a fantastic movie. There is absolutely no reason for anyone to not see this movie. I will not reveal any spoilers here, but I’m open to discuss the movie with anyone who has seen it. Suffice it to say that seeing this movie has changed the way I view the world in some fundamental ways.