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03/04/2003 Archived Entry: "Where's Tom Lehrer when you need him?"

On the Political Front:

Tom Lehrer is my favorite political/social satirist -- I mean, who can forget his classic song "Send the Marines!" or the poignant "So long Mom, I'm off to drop the bomb"...not to mention "The Vatican Rag"? Where has he been lo' these many years? He tells us in a recent interview that "there's no place for [my] style of humour now: the world just wouldn't get it."

Long-time cohort Dyanne Petersen writes:
In this week's Economist, there's a report from Ankara, "Turkey and the United States: The end of the dance." The Turks have a novel way of protesting the coming war that I hadn't heard about until now. [Quoting the Economist] "Most polls show well over 90% of Turks opposed to a war with Saddam. Bulent Arinc, the fiery AK speaker of the parliament - who, together with millions of other Turks, flicks his lights on and off every night at 8:00 by way of protest - has been threatening to sit on the bill (regarding the deployment of American troops from Turkish soil and a compensation package to cushion the effect of war on Turkey's economy) until a second UN resolution is passed." [End quote] Have I been in the dark on this? Can you imagine 60% to 80% of the lights across the US going on and off at a specific time every single evening? I'm going to start it tonight at 8:00. If nothing else, maybe my new neighbors will ask what I'm doing and I'll have an opening to discuss the issue. Join me? Or pass on this email?

I have been under-commenting on military matters because everyone knows about them. We all know North Korea is gearing up its nuclear capacity and military stance in response to the "opportunity" presented by America turning its attention in such a focused manner on one man -- Saddam Hussein. Perhaps conflict will explode in Korea, perhaps not. American policy seems to be a mixture of belligerence and befuddlement -- e.g. regarding the near-miss between N.Korean and American aircraft, "Senior U.S. officials said Washington would formally protest about the incident, once the best way to do so had been found." Meanwhile, Turkey is taking a lesson from feminism and saying "No means no!" rejecting a quick 2nd vote on allowing U.S. troops to use Turkey to open a northern front in a potential war against Iraq. And, despite the rhetoric, America needs bases in Turkey in invade Iraq from the North, which is *by far* the best military option. Yet Bush is determined to plunge forward, with 60,000 more troops being deployed in the Gulf.

There is no good news on the economic front, as financial guru Warren Buffett is warning. The much-valued Gordon Pusch sent me an interesting commentary by Rod D. Martin on how those who "defend" capitalism are harming it as much or more than those who seek to destroy it. I quote, "much of what government does at home, particularly regarding technology -- and thereby the economy and the freedom we seek to defend -- is frankly destructive, sometimes to a degree the terrorists can only envy. The Byzantine regulatory nightmare of the 1996 Telecommunications Act has inexorably worked its destructive path through America's entire technology sector. Likewise, the current deflationary recession -- of which this writer warned years before -- was the inevitable result of a Federal Reserve gone mad, fighting an imaginary inflation and thus destroying every sector of the economy which depended heavily on debt."

On the Personal/Movement Front:

Brad and I are starting down the solar route today by getting a small set-up that can power one computer and the water-pump. We've been planning for quite some while to move toward solar power but yesterday's news made us speed up a bit. Ontario announced a province-wide energy emergency and asked for voluntary conservation. Energy shortages are unusual during wintertime, with summer (air conditioning) causing the major draw on resources. What with the other strains and demands on energy/oil, we expect rolling black-outs or brown-outs this summer (if not before) and, so, we're taking steps to ensure we can still work: a phone line and a computer are the bare necessities.

Best to all,

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