Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Thing One. I'm riding my bike this summer. Oh, every summer I dutifully resolve to ride my bike more often. I have a green friend (that should probably be a friend who is green, but I enjoy the visual) who rides extensively, and who has encouraged me to join her. And every summer I ride some, to great acclaim. You'd think I was personally saving the earth, given the enthusiastic response to seeing me on my bike.

In large part, I believe the response is guilt-driven. "Oh, I should be riding my bike like you are." We all know that we "should". But it doesn't seem very convenient or we have various excuses or we just plain don't like to arrive at meetings all sweaty with hat hair.

I'm with you. Of course, because I'm a woman of a certain age, I arrive conveniently sweaty no matter how fast I ride. I can hot flash on demand as well as when I'd least like to. :-) So arriving in a state of dishabille as I try to cool down is common for me, bike or not.

But I suffer guilt pangs. And, worse, I suffer pocketbook pangs. Do the math. One income. Four people. College tuition. Oak Park prices for food and gas. The guilt pangs made me ride every few weeks. The pocketbook pangs, well, I find them infinitely more motivating.

If you're interested in joining me, there's a great article here about making riding on a regular basis more practical.

Thing Two. About my pocketbook. Actually, I don't carry a pocketbook. At least, I don't think I do. I carry a kind of wallet thingy. And about my wallet thingy. It's slimmer than I'd like it to be these days. Why? Because the oil companies have made a half a trillion in profits since Bush came into office. In addition, US tax payers are supplementing that profit with tax breaks to the tune of $17 million a year.

The US is hardly alone in paying through the nose for gas. We've been quite lucky compared to Europe, where gas has been routinely $8 to $9 a gallon for years. And many conservationists feel the only way to get average Joe American to cut back on their oil consumption is by these very types of prohibitive costs. But it ticks me off to make my wallet slimmer while oil companies profit in such record amounts assisted by our tax dollars.

So how what's with Senate Republicans refusing to approve the proposed windfall tax profit and ending the tax breaks? It is amazing that intelligent people can actually suggest without snickering at this point that the solution to the oil crisis is increased domestic production rather than less corporate profits and reduced consumption. Republicans must think we're really stupid.

Are we really stupid?

On that note . . . .


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