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Wednesday, May 9, 2001

This guy Cheney, isn't he supposed to be the brains of the outfit? Dean Martin to W's Jerry Lewis? Rowan to the prez's Martin? [Insert more up-to-date cultural reference here. Probably something to do with rap groups or video games.] This ain't no comedy act. It's definitely not a Laugh In.

At first they were telling us that conservation wouldn't solve the energy crisis. Now the veep tells us that conservation caused the energy crisis. That's rich. (And so is he, which is why conservation is a bad word... but conservative isn't. Go figure.)

Does Cheney know how ugly it sounds when he says that we have to preserve the "American lifestyle"? What he means by that, of course, is consumption on demand, without regard to depleting resources. If that's the American lifestyle, we should be ashamed to admit it.

In order to preserve the American lifestyle we need more sources of power, stealing the future of the planet so that we can be lazy and comfortable today. We mustn't be asked to give up anything, whether we need it or not. And we couldn't possibly ask auto makers to design more fuel-efficient light trucks and SUVs. In fact, the Bush folks won't even talk to Senator Feinstein of California, because she intends to bring that subject up.

And where's the loyal opposition in all this? Where's Gore? Where's Nader? Where are the outraged voices from the other side of the congressional aisle? With few exceptions, no one is speaking out (or if someone is, we're not hearing about it in the press). There's a huge failure of leadership.

"Bipartisanship" has apparently come to mean that all the snakes are in the same basket.

California has proven it can conserve energy when asked to do so. We saved an impressive number of kilowatts in April. Now that May is here and the weather is warmer, air conditioners are going on and the juice is being turned off.

We're threatened with six months of these blackouts, and the administration's answer is to drill holes in Alaska and kill the musk oxen in their natural habitat. Because we can't possibly ask people who have built cities in what used to be a desert to expect endure the heat.

Except that we can. We can ask them exactly that.

my sculpted garden

Disclaimer: I speak from the lofty vantage point of someone who knows that (at least for now) his lights won't go out. I wondered about this yesterday, when I heard that rotating outage block 14 was being shut down. I've been waiting for them to get to my section of the power grid since the first blackouts last winter, and I thought it was finally my turn.

When nothing happened, I checked last month's PG&E bill. It tells me I've been reassigned to rotating outage block 50. That's the block that's reserved for emergency services — hospitals, police and fire stations. I don't know how I got put in with those folks. None of them are in my neighborhood.

Even so, it's fair from my point of view. I don't even own an air conditioner, and I keep the stereo off and the door open during the day, so all they'd be turning off would be my computer. And since my house doubles as an office, I'm really saving power somewhere else by working at home.

It all makes sense when you think about it. Not that I wouldn't be perfectly willing to share the inconvenience with my fellow citizens.

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