Monday, June 30, 2008

China, Brazil and North Korea

A good time to be a human taxi.

For those of you unfamiliar with my opinion of cars, it briefly sounds like this: cars are waste of money, resource, and all too often, lives.

China, the beast in the east, the country that gives the middle finger to time zones and free speech, is banning people from driving cars to help with pollution and congestion for the upcoming Olympics. If your license plate number ends with an odd number you can’t drive today. If it’s an even number, you can’t drive tomorrow, and so on. I realize that schematically this would take a while to fly here, but it’s an idea worth mulling over.

Maybe we could try it two days a month for starters. Allow working folk to plan ahead with car-pooling, grocery shopping, and the like. Then, when people seem to be getting it, try it one day a week. If the shift away from privately-owned automobiles is to someday happen, it would take gradual measures like this to wean the American public from the gasoline teat.

China certainly isn’t taking such measures for any other reason than to save face concerning the putrid air quality in its Olympic-sized cities - they’ve always been more red than green - and the last thing China needs is more rules imposed on its people, but the notion should be encouraged to America to someday give an idea like this a shot.

News from Bizarro World

Reports surfaced last year of some infighting in the Bush camp between Cheaney and Condi over the strategy of handling talks with North Korea. Last week, Ms. Rice seemed to have won the battle, making breakthroughs with the bass-ackward country that has finally allowed food and medical aid to its starving population. Of course, Darth Cheaney and his “hard-liners” are disappointed with the outcome saying we gave away too much in the deal, as if it were a trade for young pitching prospects. Skeptics on the left complained the agreements took too long and that they could have plenty of weapon-grade plutonium by now that could still be used or sold off to other evil nations.

Either way, literally millions of people should be spared from starving to death thanks to the recent agreements and while it’s painful to write, the Bush administration seems to have actually done something positive interacting with an ‘enemy’ nation. I’m still extremely skeptical that there isn’t some super-shady, behind-the-scenes corporate involvement in all of this humanitarian optimism, but for now, it looks good on paper.

- B. Clifton Burke

Brazilian Energy

Short piece on Brazil seeking entrance into OPEC. Also gives some insight into President Lula. Seems to me the left is moving to the center in Latin America, thus gaining more of a political foothold - Lula seems to be a prime example, someone in power that understands the reality that capitalism is going nowhere, therefore solutions (realistic ones at least) must work within the system. In the past many leftist candidates were overtly Marxist-Socialist-Communist oriented.

I think leftists in the US could take some lessons from this type of thinking - that even if you cannot find the perfect candidate, realism must take hold. I tend to believe that the major political parties in this country are more similar than different, but certainly having Obama in power versus McCain would be good news for the most people in the world. That's enough to get my ass to the polls I suppose. I think we need to encourage this type of thinking among fatalistic/apathetic liberals. Living life on principle at all times won't get you very far...

So, that was very tangential to the article about biofuels, but oh well...

- Aaron Howell


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