Friday, September 22, 2006

A Grain of Salt

Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela and CEO of Citgo Petroleum Company, "talked big talk" at the UN, condemning the US style of democracy and calling the President of the United States "The Devil." He spoke eloquently of the "new awakening" of Marxism world wide, and condemned capitalism as causing poverty.
It is important to keep in mind while listening to the words of Chavez, that, as the leader of the Venezuelan government, he personally earns two billion dollars a year from sales of Citgo Oil products in the United States alone. As a member of OPEC, Chavez is partially responsible for the price of oil. So, it all comes down to the fact that Hugo Chavez, for all his talk, is very wealthy because of capitalism.
What does Chavez do with all this money? He certainly doesn't give it to the people who elected him. The economy of Venezuela has pretty much tanked under Chavez' presidency, and while once robust, that economy now has a seventeen percent unemployment rate, and thirty-three percent of the population lives below the poverty level. While Chavez uses his 2 billion dollar annual income to buy political influence in other countries, to fund rebellion in Guatemala and Columbia, and to travel the world to force himself into the role as leader of the third world, people in Venezuela are waiting in long lines for food staples and housing. When all is said and done, Chavez is nothing more than an oil rich billionaire, proclaiming to the world, "I am Somebody!"
It is important to note--and as an American I am proud of this show of unity--that Representative Charlie Rangel, whose district includes Harlem, has stated publicly that "even though we in America have problems with our President, you, (Hugo Chavez) are not entitled to come into my country, to come into my district and issue a personal attack on our Chief of State. An insult to our President is an insult to all Americans."
Rangel, it should be noted, has been one of the strongest critics of President Bush and his policies. Representative Nancy Paloski, another tough critic of the President, said of Chavez, "He wants to paint himself as a modern day Simon Bolivar, but he is nothing more than a common thug."

We should remember that anyone who would go to Venezuela and criticize the President of that country the way he criticized the President of our country would be censored at least. No one in Valenzuela would hear it. That person would most likely be arrested and imprisoned.

When we hear someone like Hugo Chavez say the kind of things he said, we are right to forget politics for the moment and stand together as Americans.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

One Moment, Please

Still experiencing some writers' block. Here is something to watch in the meantime:
Pogo Stick Video

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Personal Responsibility in Fuel Consumption Affects Everything

This is one easy way that everybody can be involved in the war against terrorism, staying healthy and fit, saving the ecology, controlling inflation, and sticking it to Big Oil. It's called "saving gas."
That's right, you, too, can save gas. Walk to that McDonald's that's only three or four blocks away. You won't be using any gasoline, and you'll be getting exercise that is good for your heart, and working off those calories you'll be getting from that Big Mac, fries and shake. Walking is easy. I do it every day. It's like standing on one foot and falling, except you use the other foot to catch yourself. It may take a little getting used to, but you can do it, Bucko.
When you are in your car, remember the egg. Pretend there is an egg between your foot and the accelerator pedal. When starting the car in motion, you don't have to race to the next red light, you'll only have to stop again until the traffic signal changes. Just ease down on the throttle, and maybe the next traffic signal will actually be green when you get there, if you live in a community in which the traffic lights are synchronized. If you don't know what to do when you get to the intersection and the light is green, just maintain your speed, and go on through, traffic permitting. For those who enjoy racing to the next red light, well, I just don't think that's a smart thing to do and it could be dangerous. Forget about saving gas and just protect yourself. While you are accelerating through that caution signal, you are endangering those who are trying to clear the intersection turning left, as it is their right of way to do so.
For those who live in an area where public transportation is available, try parking your car one day a week. Mingle with the common folk Take time to read a newspaper or a book on your way to work. All that can be done on the bus. Sure, it means leaving for work a little earlier, but it is a way to avoid the stress of traffic, and it does save fuel. This is also a good way to commute for those who have mobility problems.
If there is no public transportation, or if such transportation does not coordinate with a reasonable schedule, as is the case in Colorado Springs, then use the car to commute to work, but for other things, such as shopping or entertainment, try celebrating community. Schedule such trips as those to the grocery store with a friend or neighbor. Use one car instead of two.
Thanks to recent legislation, we are now allowed to distill our own fuel. A kit to build a still to do so is available for about $1100, and the cost of distilling your own fuel is about a dollar a gallon. If you reside in an area where private transportation is absolutely necessary, this may be the way to go.
My point is, after all this, that it is easy for the individual to have an effect on the world. Billions of dollars for oil go to regimes, which use the money to maintain corrupt and abusive power. It would take only a three percent reduction in fuel consumption, notice will be served to these regimes that they may have to make reforms in order to appeal to the American consumer For those who are concerned for the environment, less fuel consumption means lower green house gas emissions. The law of supply and demand dictates that with a loss in gasoline revenues, "Big Oil" may have to look at research in alternative fuels to maintain its margin of profit.
So, no matter what your beliefs of the world are, no matter what your motives are, you can do something that has an effect on any situation in the world. Just cut down on fuel consumption a little; it doesn't take much at all if a majority of people follow your example.
There is a web site you can visit that has more tips on reducing fuel consumption. Some of the ideas may be extreme, but there may be something there you can use in a practical manner. Don't wait for the Government to do anything, what you can do is much more effective than anything the Government is capable of, anyway. For your own benefit, and for the benefit of the world, save gas.