Thursday, September 23, 2004

St. Barbara of Crawford

I can now reveal who is able to end the war in Iraq. It’s not who you think.

It’s Barbara Bush. No, not the white-haired, bad-tempered old woman who is married to George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st president, but her granddaughter; the younger Barbara, the smart Bush twin who went to Yale.

She’s dark-haired one of the two daughters of the president who made silly remarks at the Republican Convention.
Barbara Bush, age 23, could be a heroine simply by joining the Army, like Joan of Arc.

If Barbara were in the military uniform worn by 1,050 men and women who have already been killed in Iraq, the war would stop.
Of course, the president could say those 1,050 kids aren’t dead. The boys and girls are just taking a dirt nap, he could say. He has found in the past that saying preposterous, unrealistic things over and over seems to make them believable. It’s good strategy (or strategery, as he has said) and it works.

If the daughter of the Commander-in-Chief were in the same fix as Jessica Lynch or Lynndie England, real-life female soldiers who have been in Iraq and in the news, I believe that the government would find another way to bring democracy to the Middle East. Somebody might decide that blowing people up is not the best way to persuade them.

Young Barbara would go down in history as the one who stopped the war and stopped the slaughter and stopped the maiming and stopped the hatred.

If the fighting doesn’t stop soon, elections will be postponed in Iraq and the country will implode. Civil war will follow and Iraq will be partitioned in some bizarre way. Our government will have gotten no gain, no advantage, no stability, no democracy. Maybe even no oil.

That’s what I think.

The president’s advisors think differently, which brings up another point:
A good argument could be made that it doesn’t matter if President Bush is not very bright because he has lots of smart people giving him advice so everything will work out just fine.

But remember: a foolish fellow can get good advice, but will he follow the advice is the question? If advisor "A" says turn right and advisor "B" says turn left, how can a dim bulb who doesn’t know left from right choose one of the options? On what does he base his decision?

It is the president who makes the decisions.

I’d rather put my money on St. Barbara of Crawford.


Thursday, September 16, 2004

Jeb as Job

Gov. Bush, the smart one in the family, must feel as if he is suffering a biblical plague of one darn misfortune after another, what with three hurricanes slamming into Florida during the past few weeks.

John Ellis Bush (who calls himself Jeb but might now want to call himself Job) has worked hard to help us from giving into so much hell from the skies that came in such abundance recently.

I tried to do as the governor and others told me to do, abandoning my home and checking into a crummy hotel to wait out Hurricane Frances.

Some of the governor’s advice was easier to follow than others. When he told us it was a good time to pray, I wondered what I should pray for.

But not everybody was puzzled or slow to prayer action. I guess somebody here in Palm Beach County, following what he believed to be the governor’s instructions, invoked the deity to send Hurricane Charley to the West Coast and leave us easterners alone. It worked. Punta Gorda was decimated.

Then, I guess somebody in Sarasota prayed that Frances should hit us rather than them. That worked, too. More than a dozen people around here died as a result of the storm. And it seems clear that folks in Tampa got together with others in West Palm Beach and prayed that Ivan should go by both communities and hit the people in the Panhandle. That really worked out well. They’ll be trying to get back to normal for years to come.

I was thinking of asking the Almighty just to shut down the hurricanes in their tracks, but I don’t believe that option is available in these matters. I’ll have to check with a theologian.

What I do regret is this: We could have prayed that these terrible hurricanes be sent over to Afghanistan and hit Osama bin Laden right in the hinder.

Talk about your killing two birds with one stone. If this is a holy war that one of the Bush boys got us involved in, we could show the enemy who really has Providence wrapped up: It’s us and don’t you forget it.

When you think about it, you have to admit that if that kind of hurricane redirection could be effected, it would be downright biblical. Better than Moses parting the Red Sea.

Send a bunch of hurricanes across ten thousand miles of ocean and continents and smite the evildoer where it hurts. Better than a nuclear bomb and nobody knows who did it.

... kenmatthews@yahoo.com

Thursday, September 09, 2004

A new day dawning

On September 4, 1882, Thomas Edison's first commercial power station, located on Pearl Street in lower Manhattan, went into operation providing light and electric power to customers in a one-square-mile area of New York City. More than 120 years later, the industry has expanded hugely from Edison's start, but surprisingly little has changed in the way power is generated and delivered to homes.

But American life has changed, partly because of what electricity brought us.
When the Hurricane Frances struck Florida in early this month, American's were dependent in almost every aspect of their lives on electricity.

The electricity delivery system, we were reminded in the days following the storm as we sweated through 90-degree temperatures and waded through sewage, is antiquated and fragile like your grandmother.

Our electricity - upon which we depend so heavily for water, sewage disposal, medical technology, food preservation, traffic control, cooling and heating, communications, entertainment and on and on - doesn't have to go out when a storm strikes.

The machines, construction techniques and creative thinking now already available would make the delivery of electric power from a central source more reliable and able to stand up to the weather. But we don’t have them. So we suffer. The shareholders of the big electric monopolies don’t suffer.

The new technologies haven't been put in place because they require more in terms of initial capital investment. We are stuck with a system not unlike the one that Thomas Edison thought up at Menlo Park, N.J., before your Great-Granny was even born.( Historical Note: Our system is based on alternating current; Edison favored direct current.)

Our lives - even our comfort - need not be threatened by failure of our support apparatus every time there's a wind storm. Remember, the experts say that hurricanes will probably be more frequent. That's because of global warming.

If our legislators won't force the electric industry and the construction industry to toughen up, we have two choices:
1. Vote for somebody else when election time comes around and get legislators who are interested in your welfare, not electric monopoly shareholders.
2. Get energy-independent.

Energy independence is possible. We can all get solar panels and wind-generators. I am not kidding. This is possible. We could probably get some government assistance to help finance the acquisition of the hardware. Solar and wind power are good conservation of resources and good for the environment. Individual homeowners’ energy independence will tell the energy generating companies - who still depend mostly on petroleum - that their old technology is, as the kids say, so over.

When Edison started his Pearl Street plant, people were getting around the city with horse power from real horses. Out transportation technology has moved on to automobiles and airplanes. It’s time the electricity-generating companies come up with something new, too; something we can depend on. We can’t continue to have our suffering magnified by ancient technology in times of crisis. We have to have an infrastructure that is more dependable.
In fact, moving to energy-independence puts market forces into play in what is still mostly a monopoly situation. Even the die-hard conservatives can’t squawk about that without descending into total hypocrisy.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?