Is there HOPE?

Shit. Hell. The discussion of reducing our reliance upon foreign oil and the demand for renewable and sustainable energy sources has been a hotly contested topic since, well, for over 3 decades now. Is there HOPE? Can we make a CHANGE? I like to think so. Saw a jaggoff driving a car the other day littered with anti-Obama stickers, saying “Obama Lied”, “This is Obama’s Economy”, blah blah blah. But my favorite sticker? It said “Obama’s Energy Plan” with images of bicycles and above it said “Drill Baby Drill” and images of oil derricks. Totally sweet. Hey asshole, how about driving that car down to the Gulf and lending a hand in the cleanup after all that drilling went awry?? But I digress…

Enjoy this little clip from Jon Stewart regarding an energy-independent future!

An Energy-Independent Future.

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About Flodizzle

Another cyclist toiling away in graduate school. Go figure. Tucson, Arizona, USA

35 thoughts on “Is there HOPE?

  1. Or how about the current administration accepting assistance from the 13 other countries that offered it 2 weeks after the oil leak began?

  2. f’n brilliant.

    we are so fucked.

    I’m glad I’ll die soon and you young people will be left to swim in shit.

  3. Not entirely true, sommersflyby. Say what you will about Dubya, I’m pretty sure he didn’t get any huge campaign contributions from the weather.

    And unlike the foreign help which Bush welcomed, Obama wouldn’t allow anyone in. Makes sense, though. If you follow Rahm “dead fish” Emmanuel, the only thing better than a crisis is a REALLY big crisis, and government inaction would certainly cause it to trend in that direction.

  4. And damned right, lj. There are better cheaper sources of biomass than corn.

  5. Obama? Dubya? It’s like arguing what type of suicide is better. In the end, they don’t really matter. Think Bigger picture. Then think bigger picture again.

  6. meet the new boss, same as the old boss. wash. rinse. repeat.

    The last thing the self-righteous, overweight, slovenly, lazy, retarded monkeys that make up a majority of this country will NEVER stop for just that. …and until “they” are forced to change, nothing will happen.

    I truly believe we are never told the truth, and the goal is to keep the masses under just enough control that they won’t revolt. I often wonder if the reason the big three (auto makers) were “not allowed to fail”, might have a little reason no one talked about. What would the people of this country do if the president was suddenly being driven around in a bullet proof Lexus with a train of Nissan SUV’s full of secret service following it? I don’t think that would go over to well. Just saying.

    Mob Rules. The government’s job(now)is to keep the mob from unifying against it. Just so you know, every time you drive your car, you are saying that you are OK with what is going on, and support the continued efforts of exactly what put us where we are today.

    Rant over. I’m cracking a beer.

  7. I’m confused – I thought this was an excellent blog about the joys of cycling not a shitty blog about political commentary?

  8. It’s hot as hell out. I am taking a moment to write a little. If you care to know at what point I realized just how fucked the US is, it was when I was in the Air Force and working with Goob on an airplane that was, as we put it, ‘broke dick’ and if you ever worked on airplanes, you know what broke dick means.
    In 1999, they still flew F4s – a decommissioned aircraft. They flew them around just for fun. F4 is a heavy, high fuel consuming aircraft – the Chevy small block of combat aircraft. On the F4 pilot’s checklist is a little step called “Ops ck fuel discharge” that is, to CHECK to see if the fuel dumping works. So, the F4 takes off with a massive roar, pilot pulls up and the plane climbs steeply and *poof* a little white cloud comes out. Goob was a lifer and used to work on F4s. The stories he told me! They leak like motherfuckers, all the time. I turned to the sergeant:
    “What is that little white cloud that the F4 just let out?”
    “That’s a fuel dump.”
    “Why is it dumping fuel?”
    “To check to see if it works.”
    “About how much does it let out?”
    “about 40 GALLONS.” He said, and he knew, because he knew EVERYTHING about the F4. I told him how fucked up that is that a decommissioned aircraft is still dumping fuel into the sky. His reply was darkly magnanimous, as usual.
    “Young man – we are not in the business of saving men’s souls. We are here to send them to meet their maker.”
    This was one of thousands of examples of blatant, wanton, senseless, destructive waste that I saw in the Air Force. It’s not just the military. The turbo diesels I see that are perfectly shined, their bed liners unscratched, passing by on their way to a STORE… well, I’ve beaten that horse enough. It is the whole package – get a job, pay rent, buy things, consume energy, dry your clothes with fucking propane when the sun is blazing, electric hot water heaters in Tucson, hazardous waste and battery collection ONCE A YEAR, if you got that, and only one city that I know of where everyone composts: Seattle. Indeed, we are fucked. It’s 2010 and there’s little difference between an American living in 1970 and now. Only the housing projects they built then were new and now they are falling apart. 40 years of “Ain’t a damn thing changed” The collapse we are headed for is not going to be sudden, it’s a slow decay, an unhappiness creeping in, an ‘up-tick’ in the cancer rates, a continued collection of all the money into the hands of the top 5% (It’s not an ECONOMY, people, it is a COLLECTION) and the least educated, least sophisticated among us reproducing at higher rates. The elite want the country over-run by Mexicans that don’t question the system – they’re happy they’re not in Mexico! $5 an hour is better than starving to death, so it must be good!! They want an ‘ethnic diversity’ which is actually a sick joke because the poor minorities still live in ghettos and the white, Jewish, and Asian elites still live in very nice houses and the rural families are pushed out of their ancestral homes by wealthy people’s need for third and fourth houses; vacation properties. Vermont is fucked for this reason – empty farm houses that are worth 6 times what they were 20 years ago – Vermonters can’t pay the taxes, Connecticut and New York fucks buy the house out from under them, put in about $70grand in renovations, and use it as a getaway for a few weeks out of the year. The problem is, that is, the reason why we are fucked is that there is NOTHING to put in check the dynamics of PRIVATE PROPERTY and as long as we keep blaming this big specter we call THE ECONOMY and not see that it is a system inherently designed very poorly, and only serves a small number of people, and exists to maximize misery and minimize mixing of the classes, we won’t address the problem. One big reason why people drive so fucking much is because they have to commute from their affordable towns to the not affordable cities where there is a job. And I’m supposed to feel lucky if I’ve got one? Fuck this – I’m living in a bread van. We need to put restraints on the fucked up actions of the ruling class if we are ever going to see hope or change, and I hear NO ONE talking about this but me. America is a 200 acre estate where one family lives next to a 2 acre apartment complex where 50 people live – everywhere you go, that’s what it is.

  9. Oh, oh – and I failed to mention – the family that owns the 200 acre estate and beautiful house OWNS the apartment complex, and all the 50 people pay RENT to them, and some of the 50 people get section 8 benefits from the government, so you see, the GOVERNMENT pays the wealthy through an elaborate, extremely unethical money laundering process. Everyone running around fighting over crumbs of the bread while a small few who own the loaf are stuffing themselves heartily, and laughing while they do it. Stop blaming the president or the economy – blame the RICH – THEY ARE CAUSING THIS SHIT TO CONTINUE.

  10. sounds like you should change your name to robin, get a hood and a bow with some arrows, and start doin work

  11. “HELP WANTED: Merry men. Must be willing to travel. Flexible hours. Paid on commission.”

  12. It ain’t up to me to change it all. I am just a guy who is and has been not willing to play the rent/work/slave game, and every so often someone influences me to try to play that game again, and every time I do, I feel like a schmuck. Like in Roman times, the slaves are clothed and fed, and free men are struggling to survive. I am a free man and will not be the company man. If more of us choose to live this way, the fucked system we live within will change. It keeps on going because we keep on playing. It’s a collection, not an economy. Remember that. At the height of the recession in late 2008, the NY times reported that the private sector was sitting on $8 TRILLION of liquid money uninvested – that’s not the stock portfolios, real estate, or other assets of the wealthy – that’s just the UN-INVESTED MONEY. Enough to put $26K in every American’s pocket.
    Everyone that points at Obama and blames him is an idiot.

  13. 10-Dan. Tried parking the car and commuting by bike only, have been hit by cars twice, hospitalized both times. Not going for a third. League of Wheelman / Bicyclist seem pretty impudent.

    Will be driving to work again tomorrow in as safe of a fuel efficient small car as I can stand.

    Thanks for the rant LJ. I like bikes and racing but there are other things in life, and most of them are political.

  14. And I made it across College Way Blvd once again as I threaded the gap and made it to the center lane, then through another gap, as though invisible, spinning madly to accelerate out of danger, like a rat, cars gunning it to the fucking red light. Patrick – your reasoning is sound and the sad truth is that a lot of people don’t ride because they’ve been literally taken out by the majority: drivers.

  15. “I am a free man and will not be the company man. If more of us choose to live this way, the fucked system we live within will change.”

    Littlejar— once again, you’re choosing to focus on the negative. You can be a “company man” and not play. When I was working, I was banking $3-5K a month and living more like “a free man struggling to survive.” So I guess that makes me a company man, a wage slave AND a free man. I ride or ski pretty much any day I want to. Keep your eye on the horizon. Don’t let little shit grind you down.

  16. People ask me: “What is the solution then?” I have an answer:
    The solution is:
    START thinking of us humans as all one.
    START sharing what you have, if you have much more than others.
    START working within your own community.
    MAKE it a social no-no to drive long distances to work.
    ALLOW people to grow food on your land and if you grow food, share it.
    ALLOW people to live on your land if you have a lot of it, and without the need to control what they do.
    BE HONEST about wealth and poverty – if you’re rich, quit going to Goodwill, looking like a slob, and imagining that you’re cool because you look like ‘one of them’ or if you’re poor, quit buying cars you cannot afford.
    IF YOU HAVE property, consider charging rent as an option, not a mandatory thing. STOP considering that what the paper says is almighty.
    MOST OF ALL – Live within your means, buy things only if you need them, and completely abandon the idea that a nicer car, a bigger TV, a larger house… will bring you any closer to SUCCESS. No one is a success when so many fail because of your disgusting hoarding.
    THE CHANGE rests on the actions of the haves – it is in fact up to them and it goes way beyond creating non-profit corporations.

  17. We are not all fucked. Some of us for sure, some maybe…the future? Without oil, oh help us, how will we survive?
    I will go out on a limb and bet that once oil is gone, life goes on. May be a whole lot different, but then things were pretty damn different 200 years ago.
    If we run out of oil is the world going to go up in smoke? Probably not? Three horsemen riding in to town? Maybe.

    Humans have adapted and evolved pretty well over time, and will continue to do so unless someone sends the nukes or biologicals out in force.
    Things may get uglier, population may have to thin out and readjust, but maybe that isn’t ultimately the worst thing to happen. I could go on and say that perhaps a better balance might be achieved but then we are humans, so if that is the case, it would probably only be temporary.

    But all the gloom and doom? Really? Is the current world exactly what you want forever? Maybe the forced changes will be for the better.

    l-jar : “START thinking of us humans as all one.” I like this idea, think it is the basis of what could make things a lot better..too bad we are generally too selfish to do this more frequently…but then there is always hope. (real hope, not polical sales pitches)

  18. …fully agree, pirata…

    “We are not all fucked…Humans have adapted and evolved pretty well over time, and will continue to do so…”
    …we may be more like the cockroaches than we’re generally seen as being…we have both good & nasty ass survival skills…

    “START thinking of us humans as all one.”…unfortunately ‘that’ noble idea was kinda sidestepped with the advent of religion when it became apparent that “our people” were better than “their people” so until ‘they’ became like ‘us’, well by golly, we’re a little better than they are & not at all quite “one”

  19. …btw…

    …ted turner called…said ‘mon up, littlepal…bring the breadwagon & the hound, park in the south forty & hey, sorry for the rules but ‘no chasing the buffaloes’ & hey, the jet is good, i got me a personal mechanic so don’t ask…other than that, have at it…
    …you wanna bring in some friends, live in teepees n’ trucks n’ shit, no problem…me n’ miss fonda were practically hippies back in the day, even if we were rich…like we usta say ‘i can dig it, man !!!’”

  20. “three groups spend other people’s money. Children, thieves, and politicians. All three need supervision.” – Dick Armey

  21. I keep having dreams every now and then, and they are the best ones, that the great behemoth interstates are empty and trees are growing up through the potholes, and I’m riding around those tress on my bicycle, and it’s dusk… always dusk in those dreams.
    We’re not fucked if all that happens is we gotta stop using oil. We could figure it out in a matter of a few years. We are, however, quite fucked if nuclear weapons are involved in the painful process of that change.

  22. A few years ago, shortly after Katrina had swamped NOLA and the ever forgotten regions to the east, there was a major gas shortage fear in the SE. I remember that Friday, driving home from work, actually needing to refuel, but finding all gas stations gridlocked with panicked drivers trying to get some before there was none. It was a panic sparked by rumors, which ultimately resulted in the fears coming true as people filled any container they could to maximize their take.

    I went home without filling up and went for a ride. I cut through a gas station lot to avoid a shitty intersection in the suburban heaven/hell I lived in, weaving through the lines of cars hoping to get some of the precious liquid. Two different times I heard people say something to the effect of “that guy has the right idea”, which I enjoyed greatly. They were right on many levels. Granted, the landscapers couldn’t have hauled their gas powered shrub cutlery, but in all, I suspect most could have made it ok without their cars.

    By 8pm on my return, the station was empty, pumped dry, closed down, like some many others. It was an eerie sight. The roads were much more quiet than usual. Eerie, and yet, exhilarating. I felt some fear wondering if this is how it starts, the end of the oil glut, and what that would mean, like where would my bread come from, and, as importantly, my beer?

    Saturday morning dawned to nearly empty roads as the local populace generally avoided driving to save the precious gas as the media hyped all angles. It was awesome. We rode the normal route through the country and saw very few autos. It was a brilliant day on many levels, if only a brief respite from the normal traffic. It was much like a dream, nothing changed except for the lack of gas powered vehicles, only one detail yet so dramatic. And it WAS good, if only for a moment. A week and I may have thought differently for sure.
    By Sunday, the gas stations were starting to come back to life as the tankers arrived, which meant the death of the interlude the cyclists enjoyed that fine September weekend.

    Humans:cockroaches – very good comparison on several levels. ‘cept I wouldn’t share a bed with a roach, at least not knowingly.

  23. @pirata— Daniel Yergin (_The_Prize_) would have us believe that the entire “gas crisis” of 1973 was caused by people hoarding fuel— in the gas tanks of their cars. I believe him.

    I rode a long rail-trail ride on September 11, 2001. We rolled down through the Upper Yakima River canyon in utter silence— no airplanes. It was very cool.

  24. …we’re creatures of habit…

    …when availability of anything dwindles, necessity changes our habits…

    …& we live with it & survive…

    “same as it ever was”

  25. @pirata – I’ve had those same “that guy has the right idea” moments. I use my Burley trailer a lot to take my little girl to the grocery store and run other errands. She loves it, and people are always saying something about what a great idea it is. Despite that, the nice secure, lit bike rack right out in front of the store is always empty, save for the rusted out 10-speed belonging to the dude that got a 3rd DWI and lost his license. It’s also awesome to take my kid to pre-school and avoid the long ass line of cars in the morning and just pull right up to the front door on two wheels.

    I just wish more people saw this as an option…or something that might just even be fun once in a while. As cyclists, our opinions and outlook on bicycles as transportation is more evolved than others, but the notion of getting on your bike and hitting the store for milk is a big step change for most people. When gas hit over $4/gal a while back, I started seeing a lot more people on bikes…running errands. I found some people to carpool with. Then gas came back down and the bikes disappeared, but I still carpool.

    LJ has the right idea, at least ideologically. Those are all great concepts and as a people, we would be better off moving closer towards them. Obviously a lot of these are already in play, but your view of that largely depends on where you live. There’s a lot of great people doing great things out there, and I’m sure everyone on this board supports them in some part. We just have to remember that as a culture we have a couple hundred years of momentum, habits and “training” to overcome and these good ideas just need to be supported and get a foothold.

    For now, I have to endure a 32 mile door-to-door commute each day, which is a spirit-sucking undertaking. At least I do it with the company of two other people, which I perceive as marginally less bad. I am shedding many of the things I used to believe I owned, but realized they owned me (Why have I moved the same unpacked boxes of crap to different places? Twice?). I am sadly only now living within my means for the first time in my adult life, and hope to be able to pass the importance of that on to my kids and be a good example. There is a balance to be achieved, and a tolerance for lifestyle change that most people will accept in the absence of the radical need to quickly adapt (disaster, etc.) Assuming the apocalyptic radical change doesn’t come, these changes start small on a micro level in communities everywhere, and grow as good ideas spread.

    On the original question from Flo about hope… at the very least, we have a president who is able to be the messenger. He has the unenviable task of delivering the bad news that nobody wants to hear, because we’ve long been told little but how great everything is. At the end of the day, I think as long as gas is reasonably affordable by most people, efforts to make our country both more energy efficient and energy independent will be largely cosmetic. Sure we can all replace that old fridge or buy a Prius, but that isn’t really solving anything. All those alternatives people talk about suddenly become more affordable and realistic when you’re talking about $6+/gal gas. At that point, the Haves will continue on, with just a little less money. And that Have-nots…well, we’ll just have to figure some shit out as always.

  26. “Mikey – you’re joking about the [hoarding] explanation, right?”

    Jonny— not at all. If you haven’t read Yergin’s landmark text, do so. It’s one of the best books ever written, period— a massive tome, excruciatingly researched and edited, clear, concise and invariably on-message. Yergin’s thesis that hoarding caused the “gas crisis” of ’73 is very well supported by the numbers; a hundred million gas tanks, each with an extra ten gallons in them = an apparent supply problem -> panic. Yergin also posits, quite credibly, that WWII was fought entirely for petroleum— only we didn’t understand it at the time. Required reading, for sure.