12.06.2008

We're All Stars Now In The Car Show


Love Is A Fire
Burns Down All That It Sees
Burns Down Everything
Everything You Think
Burns Down Everything
Everything You Say

I Knew That Our Love Was Just a Car Crash Away

-marilyn manson



I spent the day at a Houston-area Corvette Show today. A co-worker (and Vette owner) invited me to come see the cars and bear witness to the glorious consumption of petroleum product. Even though I decry the glorification of these machines, I'm a gear guy that loves to ogle. (I guess I should admit that I drive a Ford Mustang!)

The economy and the various bail outs were topic du jour, and many people I spoke with thought that this must be the end of the Horsepower Era. Surely the incoming Administration will invest money in light rail and other forms of public transportation - A Change Is Coming. Some spoke positively of this, others negatively. (OK it is Houston. Most of it was negative.)

Imagine my surprise when I get home and discover that Obama has revealed a 21st Century New Deal and the Democrats have figured out how to bail out the Big Three Autofakers. My Goodness, Christmas has come early! Except this deal is based on late 20th Century ideas and designed to propagate the unsustainable American Dream.

From the mouth of Change:

First, we will launch a massive effort to make public buildings more energy-efficient. Our government now pays the highest energy bill in the world. We need to change that. We need to upgrade our federal buildings by replacing old heating systems and installing efficient light bulbs. That won’t just save you, the American taxpayer, billions of dollars each year. It will put people back to work.

Second, we will create millions of jobs by making the single largest new investment in our national infrastructure since the creation of the federal highway system in the 1950s. We’ll invest your precious tax dollars in new and smarter ways, and we’ll set a simple rule – use it or lose it. If a state doesn’t act quickly to invest in roads and bridges in their communities, they’ll lose the money.

Third, my economic recovery plan will launch the most sweeping effort to modernize and upgrade school buildings that this country has ever seen. We will repair broken schools, make them energy-efficient, and put new computers in our classrooms. Because to help our children compete in a 21st century economy, we need to send them to 21st century schools.

As we renew our schools and highways, we’ll also renew our information superhighway. It is unacceptable that the United States ranks 15th in the world in broadband adoption. Here, in the country that invented the internet, every child should have the chance to get online, and they’ll get that chance when I’m President – because that’s how we’ll strengthen America’s competitiveness in the world.

Now this is the change we were yearning (or yawning) for. We're getting new lightbulbs and performing general duct maintenance in Federal buildings. We'll build bigger, stronger, smarter roads. AND we're gonna install broadband in schools.

This is the change we needed in 1999, not 2009. Renewing our highways does not solve problems, it delays them to the next President. Renewing our highways provides a justification for the Big Three to continue building the inefficient gas guzzlers while offering worthless hybrid solutions. (It's only fitting that Barack drives a Ford Escape Hybrid - a meaningless token symbol that gets 30 mpg.) There's nothing in this deal that demands sacrifice of the pursuit of American Horsepower. Nothing in this deal that guarantees the sacrifice of the "smart" CEOs that destroyed the automotive, banking, energy, investment institutions.

But shouldn't we be thinking about the children and their inability to learn without broadband? In a word - NO. In two words - Hell NO. We could provide wi-fi to most Americans for the price of installing broadband in our schools. That would be a 21st century solution that would benefit every American instead of providing our little ADD slugs with more distractions. American kids aren't lagging behind in math and science because they can't access myspace. They lag behind because they have no reason to succeed. Why spend time learning calculus? Today's parents will gift you a cell phone, xbox, tv, athletic shoes, fast food, and gel hair products for achieving a 90% attendance rate.

Change is coming. At some point there will not be enough energy or legitimate money to support our lifestyle. (Or in the other words of Metallica - My lifestyle determines my deathstyle.) The real issue is how can we be prepared for that change? What's the use of roads when Venezuela decides to export crude to South America instead of North America? What's the benefit of broadband in our second grade classrooms when there is no money to pay teachers or run electricity to those fancy new lightbulbs?

Those guys at the Corvette Show were mistaken. The Era of American Horsepower isn't over. Now it's subsidized by the American taxpayer and guaranteed by the Obama Administration. Oh well, I didn't want to give up my Mustang anyway.

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