Cutting Through The Crap

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Penny Foolish


Okay, okay, I'll say it in advance: bad metaphor. Still, I find it more than mildly ironic that the party and its various surrogates and propagandists who find the killing of Jesus such a motivating force for everything they believe are symbolically crucifying Barack Obama at every opportunity they get. The one man in the political arena who seems to have clear vision of what this country needs, who can see beyond the present tense, is being thwarted at every turn. Kind of makes you wonder, doesn't it? Psychiatrically speaking.

It's Tom Friedman's recent column that stupefies me yet again, over the idiocy of our congresspeople and the voices to whom they seem to be listening. In it, Friedman writes about discussing, with an academic from Singapore, Obama's plan...

... to set up eight innovation hubs to solve the eight biggest energy problems in the world. But ... the program has not been fully funded yet because Congress, concerned about every dime we spend these days, is reluctant to appropriate the full $25 million for each center, let alone for all eight at once, so only three are moving ahead.

“You mean billion,” he asks? “No,” I say. “We’re talking about $25 million.” “Billion,” he repeats. “No. Million,” I insist....

Welcome to Tea Party America. Think small and carry a big ego...

...So let’s start with the good news: a shout-out for Obama’s energy, science and technology team for thinking big. Soon after taking office, they proposed what Energy Secretary Steven Chu calls “a series of mini-Manhattan projects.” In the fiscal year 2010 budget, the Department of Energy requested financing for “Energy Innovation Hubs” in eight areas: smart grid, solar electricity, carbon capture and storage, extreme materials, batteries and energy storage, energy efficient buildings, nuclear energy, and fuels from sunlight.

In each area, universities, national labs and private industry were invited to put together teams of their best scientists and research ideas to win $25 million a year for five years, to, as Chu put it, “accelerate the normal progress of science and technology for energy research” and thereby “discover and commercialize the energy breakthroughs we need” and thereby spawn new jobs and industries.

So far Congress has appropriated partial funding — “up to $22 million” but probably less — for three of these hubs for one year. ... Chu is now trying to persuade Congress to finance those three again for 2011, as well as at least one more: batteries...

...“We don’t want incremental improvements,” said Chu. “We want real leaps — game-changing” breakthroughs — like a 75 percent reduction in energy used in a commercial building through affordable design and software improvements. “America has shown we can do this,” concluded Chu. “The scientists and engineers see the problem; they see the opportunity; they see what is at stake, and they want to help.” That is why we should fully fund all eight now.

Isn't this exactly the sort of thinking we need and ought to want from our president? (And, incidentally, ought this not incinerate the still-heard cries of Obama as America-hater?) Isn't this the sort of thinking that might still save us from ourselves? Yet discussion of such policies -- discussion? Hell, even mention by our fair and balanced media -- is virtually unheard in the din of campaign season. In the deluge of anonymous and opaque money funding the most dishonest and self-interested ads, successfully deluding teabaggers into acting against their own (and their country's) needs by convincing them of what is not, such thoughtful and far-sighted policy is drowned.

Irony abounds. Those whose world-view is centered in the mythology of a savior killed for his ideas, who weep at his sacrifice and would exclude from our country all who fail to see it, are figuratively killing the first person in a long time actually trying to implement policy that might be our salvation. (Yeah, yeah, I already admitted it's a stretch.)

The difference: ain't gonna be a resurrection. And a second coming will be way too late.

Along those lines, President Obama -- thoughtful as usual -- had this to say in a recent interview (which I'd highly recommend to everyone, especially those who continue to see him as some sort of incarnate devil):
Something that I have learned over the last couple of years is that I have to make decisions based on the long view. And I have to suppress my own desire for a short-term fix if I’m going to be able to lead the country effectively over the long term... I will keep on making that case, and I think that to point — to quote my vice president — I believe that voters are going to stop comparing me to the Almighty and compare me to the alternative.
Would that it were so.



1 comment:

Frank Drackman said...

Ummm Psssstttt Sid...
The Demos still have a 250+ majority in the House...
if they won't spend money on Green Fools, I mean Fuels, don't blame Christy O'connell, she's not even elected yet...
and BTW(That means "BTW") might be a good time to repeal DADT(That means "DADT") DOMA (That means "DOMA") and the 14th ammendment, your party might just lose a few seats...
OK, I agree with you on the Jesus thing...how can anyone worship a Surpreme Being with a Mexican name????
and what was with the "Don't Touch Me" bit after He supposedly rose from the dead??? What? he can survive hours of scourging and cruci-fiction(I made that up:), but He's afraid he's gonna catch a cold???

Frank "Jesus Who?" Drackman