Saturday, April 26, 2008

It's the Economy, Stupid!

This was the phrase that set the mood in the 1992 election when Bill Clinton ran against, and beat, George Bush I. It should well be the theme for the 2008 elections, but apparently the issue is not the same everywhere.

On a recent trip to Connecticut a few weeks ago, I was amazed to see the local mall filled with people at 9:00 PM on a Friday evening. Here in Augusta, the Target that opened last month often looks like a ghost town.
As I had to wait for a table at the Ruby Tuesdays in that mall, I struck up a conversation with a local dude who was sucking down a few brews at the bar. "I guess you guys don't know there's a recession on..." I announced. He agreed, but we both noted that things in Connecticut looked a bit more green that in other places.

This insight has been confirmed in a series of news articles (and this article too) that have appeared in the last few days. It seems that if you live in an oil-rich state like Louisiana or Texas, you got money coming out of your ears. If, on the other hand, your state depends on others for energy - and you tend to use a lot of energy, as we do here in Maine - you're screwed.

I guess it should not come as a surprise when former Governor Angus King suggested we build a army of wind generators off the coast and get into the energy business ourselves. I'm sure his millionaire buddies who "own" the Coast are not happy with that suggestion.

Seems to me that there really is only one short-term solution for Maine. We gotta reduce our energy consumption - and we gotta do it real fast.

The long-term solution is to establish an energy policy in this country that eliminates, or dramatically reduces dependence on foreign sources of energy.

And I don't expect any former - or current - presidents from Texas to be helping Mainers out any time soon.


Friday, April 18, 2008

King Korn

When I saw the coming attractions in my monthly Maine PBS viewing guide that there was going to be an independent film called King Corn shown, I quickly assumed it would be about King Korn trading stamps, those orange and gold flecks of paper that, as a youth, I had spent innumerable hours licking and sticking into trading stamp books. All the rage in 1964, the trading stamps were given away to patrons at grocery stores and gas stations all around America.

But the King Corn here is an independent film about...corn. I strongly encourage everyone to see this film if it comes close to your home or on your TV. It is a real eyeopener.

The film is about two young dudes who, upon learning that their bodies are made mostly of carbon made from corn, decide to move from Boston to Iowa and arrange with a local farmer to grow an acre of corn. After planting and fertilizing, the boys have plenty of time to discover what happens to the corn growing in their field. It is a fascinating discovery.

Not surprisingly, if you Google the words King Corn (or King Korn), you will find a paid ad from the Corn Refiners Association disputing the findings of the film. Geez, you'd think they would be thrilled by all of the free advertising. But Corporate America is obviously paranoid, and well protected by the powers in Washington.

In addition to MPBN, King Corn will be shown in Portland, ME next Friday, April 25th at SPACE

Can't wait, check out King Corn on You Tube.


Monday, April 14, 2008

My Footprint

We Can Solve the Climate Crisis
I just finished watching the National Geographic Channel's special called the Human Footprint. I am pleased to say that overall I think I am doing better than most of the statistics they threw up on the show. There is no way I consume all that milk in one year.

The show got me thinking about my old buddy Al Gore and An Inconvenient Truth. I understand he has put his energies into supporting a new effort to combat global climate change. That effort is called The Alliance for Climate Protection. And their big effort is called We Can Solve It. Check them out.

Now I have to go back to the National Geographic website and take the personal consumption test to see how well I am actually doing.

12,129 hamburger buns in one lifetime? Please!