Is Politics Always SSDD?

I did not watch the State of the Disillusioned Union last night. It's too painful. I mean, come on, seriously. Since when did eloquent speaking get thrown out, only to be replaced by mindless, mind-numbing applause after every 1-3 sentences? Nauseating.

So, here's what I'm wondering, having read the highlights...

1) The middle class is now supposed to pay for the health care of the lower class? I thought Robin Hood stole from the rich and not from the poor, or at least the "not quite so rich"?!?!? So strange.

2) Did I hear correctly? Forming a civilian voluntary reserve corp? As in, a militia of mercenaries to go fight our wars? Well, I guess this isn't too surprising. Perhaps it's being done to legitimize all the questionable "contracting" that's been happening. If memory serves, beltway bandits like CACI have gotten in trouble for being contracted to essentially run secret prisons and torture prisoners. The irony, of course, is that the National Guard is really supposed to fill this function. They're militias under the command of the Governor of each state. Except that this has been extremely abused. Oops.

3) Reduction of gas consumption is cool. Is this the much-awaited energy strategy promised last Summer? The so-called solution to global warming? A bit underwhelmed am I. Here's the deal, though. What's the plan? Corn-based ethanol? I suppose that's better than gas, but let's also bear in mind that so-called FlexFuel cars are not as efficient as modern gas engines, FlexFuel does not usually integrate electric hybrid technologies, and let's not forget that reliance on corn, while sounding all good and fine, may end up simply redirecting the problem. Why? Well, let's imagine a couple possible scenarios.

Scenario 1: Major drought in the Midwest, significantly damaging corn crop. Increased demand for corn ethanol combined with low availability of corn to produce said ethanol, and then people are going be right back to complaining about fuel prices.

Scenario 2: Would it be easier or harder to perpetrate eco-terrorism than to significantly disrupt the flow of gasoline? Now, instead of guarding concentrated facilities (like refineries and pipelines) against attack, we have to protect entire fields. Is the FBI going to start monitoring for spray plane rentals? I mean, yes, this is a bit over-dramatic and very movie-plottish, but... I don't know.

Overall, I think that we're overlooking far more important innovations. For example, mass transit completely blows in the majority of this country. NYC has perhaps the best mass transit system I've seen, especially when you include LIRR, NJ Transit, and the other legs to outlying areas. Are they expensive to build? Sure. But are they utilized? Definitely. I know this would be unpopular, but if you slapped an extra $1/gal tax on gasoline right now and used those dollars to rapidly build improved mass transit, that would be a good start. Not the end-all-be-all solution, but better than transferring the problem.

I could go on and on and on about energy stuff... like why we're not looking into pebble bed reactors... why we don't appear to be federally funding R&D as aggressively as we could be for alternative energy and fuels... etc... anyway...

And while I'm on a rant... oh, good grief. And speaking of complete stupidity, now our esteemed, ever-so-delightful VP is declaring that the whole Iraq disaster has hurt the administration's credibility. Read it here on

Question: at what point does the level of delusion justify removal from office? I mean, at some point this has to almost amount to mental illness, meaning that the people at the top are not competent to hold their offices, right?

*Definition of SSDD

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Ben Tomhave published on January 24, 2007 7:16 PM.

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