Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The President's pile of wood chips

True to my word that I would not watch George Bush lie to the nation tonight, I nevertheless read the transcript of his speech afterwards, on the theory that I could successfully suppress actual thoughts of his mouth-full-of-grits voice and shifty demeanor as I silently read the mendacities to myself--I somehow thought it would make the experience more tolerable. I confess I underestimated the disagreeableness of his Orwellian doubletalk even in the absence of the frozen menace of his smirk and the unsettling trapped-animal way his eyes dart around.

The effect of reading the speech at one sitting was like having your toilet overflow continuously for 20 minutes. I was thinking, o man, what a fucking mess. Where do you _start_ to clean this stuff up?

OK, anywhere at random. President Blood-for-Oil proposes to reduce our dependency on...petroleum. Hey, great. Welcome aboard, George. And how does George propose to do this? Keep your eye on the pea, here. With "zero-emission coal-fired plants, revolutionary solar and wind technologies and clean, safe nuclear energy." ZERO emission coal fired plants? Uh, George, have you cleared this with your coal industry contributors? Get back with us on this. Have you asked any actual scientists how feasible zero-emission coal fired plants are? Get back with us on that, too. We'll be waiting. But not holding our breath. Clean, safe nukuler energy, too. Wow. Don't let any thoughts of Chernobyl or Three-mile Island spoil the daydream.

Seems kinda utopian, so far. But now we get down to the actual specifics, which are--wood chips and switch grass. That's right. Wood chips and switch grass. To make ethanol. "Our goal is to make this new kind of ethanol practical and competitive within six years. Breakthroughs on this and other new technologies will help us reach another great goal, to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025."

Seventy five percent of our oil imports is alotta wood chips and switch grass. He must have read the recent research that ethanol, ideally, can produce slightly more energy than is required for its creation. That's good news. I await someone's back of the envelope calculation of just how much switch grass would be needed, given the energy return on energy invested. My guess is that we might have to plow up a _lot_ of parking lots and plant a _lot_ of grass.

Nowhere in his speech, unless I got bored and did a little speed-reading right past it, was a mention of conservation, or better gas mileage, or public transportation. Stuff that might work.

The rest of his speech was equally absurd, misleading, and stupid, not to mention harping on tried-and-true fear-mongering. I keep hoping the public will wise up about his using the fight against turrism as a fig leaf for a nasty agenda. I can always hope. The public saw what the Republicans were up to about social security, which was encouraging. But Bush, in tonight's speech, even made it clear he has not given up on destroying social security. Republican rigidity is pretty pathological. But anyone likely to read this blog knows that. Sorry to be tedious.

Apparently Cindy Sheehan was removed from the audience tonight and arrested for wearing a t-shirt that said "2,245 Dead -- How Many More?" Bush just can't stand for anyone to disagree with him.
Second update:
Ms Sheehan was charged with "unlawful conduct." She could get a year in jail. The President seems to be surrounded by a First-Amendment-free zone of a hundred yards or so wherever he goes.
Last update, hopefully:
Police dropped the charges, explaining "We screwed up." Well, maybe that's not a full explanation. Turns out there is no law against having a visible message on your t-shirt during the State of the Union speech. This same screwup seems to have happened at a number of Bush's speeches. What are the odds of that?

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