Friday, February 29, 2008

Forever silenced

Just in case you've been hiding in a cave with Osama Bin Laden the last couple of days, I have some bad news to pass along to you: William F. Buckley, the conservative giant, has died.

Let me say this up front: There was almost NOTHING about his political views that I agreed with. I think the man could be, not to put too fine a point on it, a pompous ass sometimes. And I think he was extraordinarily narrow-minded on a host of issues that, in this day and age, cannot be approached with anything resembling a narrow mind.

But I respected him.

You see, Mr. Buckley was that very rare class of conservative: Honest, intelligent, sincere, and unwavering in his beliefs. Like it or not, his mind did not change based on which way the political wind happened to blow, unlike so many other so-called "conservatives" in this day and age. He remained steadfast, staying his own course in the ever-changing political world. It is so refreshing--and rare--in this day and age to find anyone so firm in their beliefs that no amount of persuasion can change their minds. Some may call this a flaw, but I believe sincerity is a virtue that is rare in today's world.

You the 3 readers of this blog may have guessed by now that I tend to lean a little bit towards the liberal side of politics, in the same way it can be said that the Titanic took on a little bit of water. I disagreed with nearly everything Mr. Buckley stood for. But while I may have hated his politics, I did not hate him personally, which is something that I can't say about very many conservatives.

I would have enjoyed the opportunity to sit down and have a discussion with Mr. Buckley. Not a debate or an argument, for I am the first to admit that he was WAY smarter than I am (with the exception of our current President, they rarely admit morons into Ivy League Universities), but a discussion of his views of the current political climate.

The realist in me, however, realizes that such a discussion would never have happened even while he was alive, but now that opportunity is lost forever. A giant voice is forever silenced, and the world is now a little poorer for it.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Run, Ralph, Run! (As far and as fast as Possible)

An open letter to Ralph Nader:

Dear Mr. Nader,

Recently, you announced your intention to run for the Presidency again.

I have one question for you:

Are you completely out of your fucking mind?!!!

When you ran for President back in 2000, calling your candidacy a long shot was an exaggeration at best, a complete fantasy at worst. But, you were able to siphon off enough votes from the Democratic candidate to make victory for his opponent possible in a closely contested state. You, sir, more than anyone or anything else, are the reason that this country has been cursed with the worst president in history for the last 7 years. You even had an effect on the 2004 election, although probably not enough to really change the results.

Now, you intend to run again. And I think you are crazy to do so. Every vote cast for you is a vote for the Republican candidate. The same candidate who has before, and will again, oppose everything you stand for.

So please, in the name of all that is holy, STOP! You cannot possibly win, and you will only help to ensure the election of another Republican for the next 4, and probably 8, years. If that is what you want, then by all means, continue this insane quest. If not, drop out now, and help to save the country you claim to love so much.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Gas Math

Recently I’ve heard many people who pull their big, gas-guzzling SUV’s up to the gas pump complain about the high price of gas. I decided to do a little math:

(All numbers are rough estimates. Any errors in math are entirely someone else's fault. I welcome any corrections or suggestions)

There are roughly 300 million people in the U.S.

Let’s be conservative and assume that there is one car for every four people. That means on any given day there are about 75 million cars on the road.

Let’s further assume that each car is driven an average of 10 miles per day (again, being conservative). That means on an average day, Americans drive 750 million miles.

The amount of gas required to drive 750 million miles is about 30 Million gallons. This is based on a mileage standard (that is, average MPG of all cars sold in the U.S.) of 25 MPG. This is also assuming that the cars on the road today meet that standard, on average.

It takes about 1.49 gallons of crude oil to make one gallon of gasoline.

There are 55 gallons of oil in a standard barrel. That means that each barrel of crude oil can make about 37 gallons of gas, on average.

That further means that Americans, just through everyday driving, consume, on average, nearly 811 thousand barrels of oil. Every. Day.

Yesterday (2/19/08) the price of oil closed at over $100 a barrel. That means that we as Americans pay 81 MILLION dollars EVERY DAY simply for the gas we consume through everyday driving. That adds up to nearly 30 BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR.

Congress has recently enacted legislation requiring the federal cafe standard to be raised to 35 MPG--in the future.

Now consider this: Suppose the Federal MPG standard was 35 MPG NOW. That means Americans would use only about 21.4 Million gallons of gas each day in everyday driving. Applying the same math used above, that means about 579,150 barrels of oil. That’s nearly 232,000 FEWER barrels of oil per DAY! A savings of nearly 23.2 MILLION dollars a day, or OVER 8.5 BILLION DOLLARS per year!

We, as Americans, could save EIGHT BILLION DOLLARS PER YEAR if the national mileage standard was 35 miles per gallon. Think what we could do with an extra EIGHT BILLION dollars every year…

And, of course, that’s just by changing our personal vehicles. Imagine if they were able to do the same for every vehicle on the road.

I must repeat again that this is very rudimentary mathematics, and I did very little research (mostly having to do with how much oil to make a gallon of gas). I also did it in about 15 minutes. Think about the figures a professional number-cruncher could come up with if given more exact figures and more time…

Monday, February 18, 2008


Well, folks, it took the brainiacs in Hollyweird nearly six months, but they finally came up with a new TV show I like.

Eli Stone

OK, I don't just like this show, I LOVE it!

Granted, it tends to get a little bit silly at times, but putting that aside, this show has everything I love in a good TV show: Smart writing, good acting, powerful emotional content, and just enough humor to keep it from getting TOO sappy.

OK, so the premise is a little far-fetched--A high-class attorney suddenly begins experiencing visions--VIVID visions, with a capital VIVID--and decides to suddenly change the course of his life. The visions may or may not be the result of an inoperable brain aneurysm, or they may be messages from a higher power (God?)

But through the course of these visions, this attorney learns that he can help people in ways that will change their lives for the better, and, in doing so, change his own life as well.

Sure, it's sappy, sentimental, Hollyweird garbage, but it Just. Doesn't. Matter.

It's been three episodes now, and I'm not ashamed to say that all 3 episodes so far have reduced me to tears more than once.

My God, I'm becoming a woman.

(Slaps self) OK, I admit I'm not doing my reputation any good here, but it takes a lot to make me lose control of my emotions. Hell, I didn't shed a tear when Ohio State lost 2 championship games in a row. And believe me, THAT was heartbreaking!

So I have high hopes for this new show. And considering that it took the major TV studios until February to come up with a show worth watching, it would be in their best interests to keep it in the lineup. And maybe to study what works about this show and possibly apply it to the rest of their lineups.

Maybe if they did, they'd come up with a few other shows worth watching.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Dizzoner, the Mayor

Well, folks, it's been about a week since it happened. Our mayor, the (dis)Honorable Carleton Finkbeiner, told the U.S. Marines they were NOT welcome to train in Downtown Toledo, as part of their training in Urban Warfare.

Downtown Toledo was a natural choice, I suppose. They needed a large urban area that was also largely deserted. Downtown Toledo fits that choice to a T. Just about every other building is deserted, and the city's second-tallest Skyscraper has stood completely abandoned for nearly 2 decades. The only time when Downtown Toledo shows any activity at night is during baseball season when the Mud Hens play at home. And that will only last as long as they continue to have success on the field.

So the Marines attempted to land. Carty told them to leave, drawing the ire of veterans and non-veterans alike. And, far from being apologetic about it, he called his critics "Baboons".

An aside: Lest you think I'm quoting him out of context, here is the original quote:

"For anyone to suggest that this man, in any way, shape , or form is not loyal to this country, or not loyal to the military of this country, that person is just a plain baboon, who doesn't know me or what I stand for."

I have personally NEVER liked this man. I have voted against him in every election. And I will vote against him in the next election. And in any other election he runs in.

My reasons for this are varied, but a lot of it has to do with incidents like this. This man has always, to borrow a phrase from The Blade, employed a "Ready, Fire, Aim" approach to management. He shoots off his mouth before loading his brain. He yells at people. He curses at them. He has, on more than one occasion, physically threatened people. He violently attacks his critics. And, above all, he steadfastly REFUSES to admit that he could EVER be wrong.

This is NOT the sort of man who should be the mayor of a mid-size mid-western city. This is not the sort of man who should be mayor of ANY city, regardless of size. In any place outside of politics, this man would be locked in a padded cell with a straitjacket.

I wish I could say this whole incident came as a complete surprise, but having witnessed the antics of this man over the course of nearly 2 decades spent in office as mayor of Toledo, I can safely say that nothing he does surprises me any more.

And if the fools in this city elect this man to another term as mayor, then they deserve to be screwed!