"It never gets any easier. You just go faster." ---Greg Lemond
"Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades." --- Eddy Merckx
"You drive like shit." ---The Car Whisperer


Food Choices

From the Newsweek article "Divided We Eat":

"This is our charity. This is my giving to the world," says Alexandra,finally, as she packs lunchboxes—organic peanut butter and jelly on grainy bread, a yogurt, and a clementine—for her two boys. "We contribute a lot."

This is not just self-congratulatory masturbation. The "savings" of cheap food, brought about by way of equal amounts of cheap oil, are in reality buck-passing. Those "savings" are borne by the public in the form of healthcare costs (11% of which treat type 2 diabetes alone), pollution, and even directly out of our pockets in the form of subsidies for those "cheap" and very empty calories.

It seems self-defeating to give to charitable public health concerns while at the same time compounding those very problems with your own lifestyle choices. Instead, spend the extra on sustainably-produced foods that have far less negative impact on public health


Awww, poor baby!

It is ironic, sadly and supremely so, that the group of citizens now crying and complaining over the Transportation Safety Administration’s new full-body scanners and aggressive pat-down searches are the same that drive SUVs, minivans, and cars for half-mile trips to the grocery store, to work on days when it’s “just too cold” to wait for the bus or deal with a homeless person on the train, to the gym in order to run on a treadmill, and because “I bought it, so I might as well use it.”

This is a nation so lazily and vociferously addicted to oil, believing that driving everywhere is a civil right and a way of life that they voted for George W Bush, twice, and his gigantic expansion of our already unwelcome presence in the Middle East to outright war. Not that we’d have avoided war with another president, not without changing our ways. Obama is proof of that, ineffectiveness incarnate. But by electing Bush and a propaganda machine, we convinced ourselves we could go on living as we always have, with the small inconvenience of ensuring that our Middle Eastern oil supplies aren’t endangered by Chinese or Russian intervention by intervening ourselves.

That’s the cost of “freedom,” right?

Do you really think that we’re still in Afghanistan to ensure democracy? US combat operations in Iraq may be over but our occupation is not. Do you really think that the weapons-of-mass-destruction-fiasco was just an honest error in intelligence and judgment? You are stupider than your Hummer makes you look.

Do you really think that we’re there to “steal oil?” You are stupider than your Prius makes you look.

We are awaiting the inevitable: the supply crunch. Soon there will not enough available energy at affordable prices to go around among Europe, China, Russia, and the US. It is then our Asian mission will be realized; and once it is, the terror threat will recede far into the background. If you think all parties involved will politely negotiate their way to an agreeable resolution to this shortfall, you are stupider than your protest sign makes you look.

Until then, terrorism is the most visible consequence of our oil addiction, and we bitch and moan about the TSA “abuse” with zero sense of irony. By simply reducing the amount we drive through means theoretically within our grasp we could totally eliminate our dependence on any foreign oil and any need for energy-defense missions. Most trips fewer than two miles could be made by some other mode than automobile. Why do you need so much shit from Target at one time? Why do you need such a huge truck? Can’t you drive something with better mileage? Why can’t you live in a denser area that is closer to transit?

These are all choices that you can make. However, if you have chosen to live in the suburbs and more than 2 miles from your nearest food source, voted for the candidate who cut funding for transit, or would rather drive because the bus “is for losers,” then I don’t want to hear anymore complaining about being turned into a creepy, 3D, black and white centerfold or having your genitals touched by a glorified security-guard no more qualified to be a garbage man and probably paid half as much.

We have only our own selfish behavior to blame. We're losing essential liberty for a little convenience. 300 million people changing a little can change a lot.


Thursday hate

Extra tomato does not mean "one extra slice of tomato."

Someone who asks me for advice but is really only looking for validation on what he's already decided on doing.

People who must get past you to the doors while the train or bus is still moving, especially during rush hour; making me get up or contort to let them pass, risking a fall. I promise you will not miss your stop. And if you do, it won't be the end of the fucking world.


Thursday hate

My top ten targets in the post-oil apocalypse:

10. Litterers.

9. People who block the doors.

8. Eric Cantor.

7. People who start with "www dot..." when giving you a web address.

6. American soccer fans who hate all other American sports.

5. People who go apoplectic against cutting social services but don't have a library card.

4. Litterers littering energy drink cans get an extra.

3. People who blame the imminently approaching economic abyss on liberalism and over-regulation.

2. People who won't eat vegetables, but they'll have their own problems.

1. "I said, 'please move your bag.'"


Humped Day: we deserve it

This results of yesterday's election were a rebuke of Obama's first two years in office, no doubt. There's a link going around, What The Fuck Has Obama Done So Far? And, sorry, I have to answer, "so? Big fucking deal."

More mental heath care for veterans is great, it truly is. So is preventing providers from excluding pre-existing conditions upon new employment. These provisions would've been easily passed with bipartisan support. This is the kind of change people wanted.

The added entitlements of insuring millions of needy Americans who cost the most to treat because they suffer from chronic disease due to poor diet and lack of exercise, caused by government policy that was left completely untouched, was not the change people wanted. And the fact that it was passed without ANY bipartisan support at all has some people rightly pissed.

Especially after they just finished paying over $700 billion, instead of lining each of those motherfuckers up against a wall and putting a bullet in their brain, to the Wall Street criminals who fleeced the taxpayers that had any money left after they hatched a scheme to sell mortgages to people who couldn't afford them, then bundled them up in fraudulently-rated securities and sold them again, while taking out insurance policies on all of them - those millions and millions of little financial hydrogen bombs, credit-default-swaps.

Who's to blame? Probably Republican Phil Graham for sponsoring the 1999 bill which repealed part of the Glass–Steagall Act of 1933 and removed the wall between commercial and investment banks, or the current standard-bearer for modern Democrats, Bill Clinton, who signed it. Take your pick.

But Barack Obama passed financial reform, you protest? Big fucking deal. Too late, the horses are already out of the barn. The accumulated debt at the core of it all - mortgages owned by people who couldn't pay them - debt that was greater than our combined ability to pay it, caused it all to fall apart. We got stuck with the bill and the world would end if we didn't pay.

This may not have come directly out of our pockets, but in the coming years, as our schools get worse, more bridges collapse, and ever-more reactionary politicians rescind funding for rail and complete streets infrastructure and planning, the criminality of it all will become very apparent.

The world, as we know it, is still going to end.

And this is what pisses me off the most: there is not one word about what the fuck Obama has done for sustainable transportation. The planning and ideas coming out of our Department of Transportation are the most innovative in years, former Republican Illinois state senator Ray LaHood is doing incredibly great work. And it may all be squandered by Obama breaking his word on being a bipartisan reformer. Not all conservatives are entirely beholden to special interests, some just think entitlement spending has gone too far. And when we're spending money to insure unhealthy people without first addressing WHY they are unhealthy, I think that's a good reason to say no.

And now, because of it, very real planning and the few good ideas to come out of this administration so far - transportation mitigating our dependence on cars - are at risk of being cut. In many states, such as Wisconsin, it's already on the block. And amid the permanent energy crunch that is being direly predicted in the coming years, we'll again be left forking over many more millions to pay for this next, now permanent, emergency.

And the folks who reacted to Obama's ineffectiveness will react the same way to these new Republican's ineffectiveness, by voting in even more reactionary politicians. All very sad, because our downfall is completely out of any politician's control. They will make Joe Miller and Sharon Angle (and her vague threats of "2nd amendment remedies") look like Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale.

Bookmark this blog entry. Title it, "was Brian right?" Come back in the fall of 2012 and see if we aren't ruing our continued dependence on cars and suburban sprawl. And I'm very sorry that your feelings are hurt because a bunch of gun-wielding insurgents got voted into office around the country yesterday, but that's what you get when you don't take other people's opinions into account.