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August 29, 2008

My Official Presidential Endorsement…

Filed under: Just life,Observations — sbj @ 7:12 pm

There are those who would suggest that my mind has been made up for some time about who I was voting for in the Presidential race.  Honestly, if they were playing the odds they would be right.  However, I am a deliberate man and have been weighing things over and over again on this decision.  I reached the 995 mark on the plane back from Vegas on Sunday and the confluence of Obama’s speech last night and McCains announcement today have brought me all the way home.

I wrote back in March that my biggest fear of an Obama Presidency was the inevitable disappointment that would come after his term.  Sort of like that movie based on your favorite book that you waited months for… and it is never as good as the book.  Expectations can be dangerous things; however, I believe the reality of an Obama White House will be a better, stronger, healing (not healed) nation.  I cannot say I feel the same about a John McCain Presidency.

That, simply, is why the choice is simple for me and Obama is getting my vote :)

Here we go again…

Filed under: Observations — sbj @ 4:18 pm

Last night Obama made a stirring, powerful and meaningful speech.  This morning, McCain countered with a hot chick.  I guess it could be argued, from this, that McCain has his finger on the pulse of contemporary American society more so than Obama.

Before I go on, I would like to say that, in no way do I mean to disparage Gov. Palin.  From all reports I have read, she is a qualified competent woman with a fantastic career ahead of her.  She is for drilling in Alaska, a policy I do not support; and I honestly cannot tell from what I have read how much of her politics are her own, which make me a little uneasy.  However, all in all, you don’t get to be the youngest person and first woman to be Governor of a state without qualification, accomplishment and appeal.

My concern about all of this is that I feel it is the appeal that McCain is seeking, not the qualification or accomplishment.  I think he is choosing a vice-president who is all the things he is not, and all the things he thinks Obama is.  He may be, inadvertently, getting a very qualified running mate, but I do not feel that he is doing it for the right reasons.  Where the citizens of Alaska made an informed choice to elect a qualified, accomplished Governor McCain appears to be making a beer commercial.

This bothers me, mostly, because I can see where it may go.  I see things like my opening paragraph and most recent sentence being said all over the country.  I recall, from my youth, the “Fritz and tit’s” quips about Ferraro in 1984.  I see women being marginalized in politics again, or at least an attempt to make this happen.  I don’t want another qualified women to be associated with the last desperate act of a political party that knows it needs to “do something” to win.

I have every confidence that Gov. Palin is a capable politician, what I am not confident in is John “bomb bomb Iran” McCain appreciating (or even noticing) this.  This is certainly one step forward for Gov. Palin, lets just hope it’s not two steps back for women in general.

August 28, 2008

I Have a Dream… also…

Forty-five years ago, today, MLK gave his famous “I have a dream” speech.  It has become an anthem, as well it should have.  With advanced apologies to the specific demographic for which it was intended, I intend to co-opt it into my “cause.”

Much more recently a good friend of mine, while explaining why she was supporting Obama for President instead of Clinton, made the argument that she, as a feminist, was doing so because he was the candidate that most closely represented the feminist idea.  This friend, by the way, really is an expert on the topic; as in, she has a graduate degree in the field of Women’s and Gender Studies.  She explained it this way:

Feminism is not about gender.  It is not limited in scope to sex.  Feminism is about a perspective, it is about hearing those marginalized based on race, gender, class, and sexual orientation.  It is about moving away from a place of privilege to a place of lived experience, and it is about a politics of transformation – of action not reaction.

I typically refer to this behavior as “living”, rather than feminism; however, I’ll take any port (word) in a storm.  The concept is wonderful and the explanation perfect.  Further, as I think about it, the underlying traits of compassion, good will, and fairness are far more often (not uniquely, but more often) found in women than in men, so perhaps feminism is not such a poor moniker.

So, now, we come to my dream.  It is my hope that in my lifetime, or, of that is too optimistic, in my children’s lifetimes, that there will come a day where everyone looks at others as equals.  Where compassion rules over compulsion, benevolence over bigotry, and empathy over apathy.

I dream of a society that values each and every asset present within it equally.  One where people will be judged and treated according to nothing more (and nothing less) than “the content of their character.”

My dream continues with people realizing that they do not need to have an individual cause, but rather can be part of a greater human cause.  In the area of human interaction, there should not be minorities, majorities and demographics; there should simply be humans, interacting.  My dream is that all crusaders for equal rights realize they are fighting for the same things.  I want to see more people like my friend, who are willing to put an ideal ahead of an agenda.  Perhaps what I want, is a nation of feminists.

That is my dream, on this important anniversary, what is yours?

PS Thank you again Dr King, your words and life continue to be an inspiration to an ever increasing number.

August 19, 2008

What sacrifices are you willing to make?

Filed under: Observations — sbj @ 5:40 pm

Sacrifice… it’s an oddly used word in our society these days. People talk freely of the sacrifice that our military is making over seas. They talk on end about the sacrifices that athletes make, giving up so much of their lives in the pursuit of perfection. It is discussed as if it is a noble thing (which, arguably, it is). However, if we respect sacrifices so much, why are we so reticent to make a few ourselves?

I wrote just last week about my distaste for the words “gay” and “retarded” (and others, but I’m focusing on those two), and yet I continue to socialize with people who blatantly use them. These people have read my blog… so I know they are aware of my feelings on the matter. In other words, at this point it is not their fault… it is mine. I did what I was supposed to do, and “told them” (via a mass communication, but still, I know for a fact they read it).They continue, so now it is incumbent up on me to either admit that I’m not willing to give up something I enjoy for what I feel is right (sacrifice) or to cut them loose. As of now, I have done neither. Fail.

I have friends that pontificate about saving gas, going green, etc. However, they can regularly be seen running the tires off of their cars, running errand after errand with little regard for planning and alternative transportation. They cannot sacrifice the time required to take a bus etc. I have friends that worry about the price of oil and talk about the “oil crisis”. They then proceed to fire up their lawn mower (related blog on lawn mower oil usage) and use it on a 400 sq ft patch of grass, instead of getting a push mower that would require about 30% more effort but reduce fuel usage by 100%. if you use less gas to do things, that makes the gas cheaper (another blog about the cost of going through a drive through) Fail.

I am sick to death of hearing people who regularly sit in front of a television complaining about the wages teachers make compared to actors and athletes (more from me on this topic). Guess what… you are paying them, by watching them and the associated commercials. Further, when you support the industry by doing so, you are giving carte blanche approval for each and every sports team out there to throw mounds of cash at the next impact player that comes along. Until you turn off the television, and stop encouraging the money to be filtered away from schools and toward entertainment you are the problem. Until you are willing to pay a bit more in taxes, or find some other way to fund paying teachers more money, by prioritizing education… you are the problem. I do not watch sports on tv, however I do read about my teams on the internet daily, again, supporting the industry. Fail.

Do not complain to me about the health care systems of other countries and then tell me that you want a tax cut. Do not, as a wealthy person, tell me how the middle class is not pulling this weight. If you are part of the middle class, stop looking for solutions that garner most of their funds from the wealthy and chip in for the solution you want in place. Health care requires money, if you want it… sacrifice a little and belly up to the bar. Fail.

How may people fail to recycle, even thought the mechanism to do so is only as far away as your curb? Is it really that much extra work to sort out the plastics and take them out with the garbage? Fail.

I could go on and on, but the bottom line is as a society, we admire sacrifice, as long as we do not actually have to do the sacrificing (and if we do, it better be with a gun in our hands, or in order to win something… like 8 gold medals, maybe). We are a society built around our own personal convenience and unwilling to give any of them up. We are entitled, believing that somehow we have worked harder and earned this excess. That this gluttony of personal conduct is somehow as much a manifest destiny as going west (and displacing countless Native American tribes) once was.

I am ashamed of my self, I am ashamed of the society I live in, and, honestly, if you are reading this, I’m probably a touch ashamed of you as well…

Now… lets see what I do about it…

August 14, 2008

Federal Law 49 CFR 37. 167

Filed under: Bus tales,Observations — sbj @ 5:39 pm

Today, as I rode in to work on the bus I noticed, in detail, a sign that I had only casually observed before.  As I focused my attention on the sign I went through a series of thought processes, culminating in “someone had to be told that” and very shortly thereafter “wait, not only did someone have to be told that, but it was enough of a problem that it had to be legislated.”

Here is the sign:

Have we really come “so far” as a society that we have to be told, nay mandated, to surrender our seats to those who are in greater need of them?

Federal Law 49 CFR 37. 167 I admire what you are trying to accomplish, but I hate the fact that you have to exist.

August 12, 2008

Redemption…

Filed under: Make the world better,Observations — sbj @ 10:25 pm

Just yesterday I was debating the use of the word “gay” to describe something bad.  As part of my argument about the ignorance that helps perpetuates this type of thing, I related the story of having to insist that my father stop saying “mighty white of you” to describe someone doing a good deed for someone else.

Innocence or ignorance allow us to do and say things that are harmful and that encourage people to continue their bigoted and oppressive ways.  Every time a person laughs at a joke with a clearly racial, sexist, or otherwise targeted punch line, they are giving their blessing for others to continue to treat that group as inferior.  And it is that mind set that other groups are inferior, or sub-humans that allow people to oppress them with a clear conscience.

This morning I shouted out “sweet redemption” when I found out that I had been given a reprieve on having to register my son at school today (admittedly a bit of an over-reaction).  Imagine my surprise when I discovered that phrase has racial undertones!

The phrase “sweet redemption” comes from the south.  This. you may have expected, or figured out on your own.  What you may not have known (I didn’t) is that what it referred to, in the 1870′s, was a southern state that had managed to throw off its post civil war northern influence and entered a period of white supremacy, known, specifically as “redemption”.  This term was so widely used in the south during that period that the all-white Democratic government administrations were called “Redeemer” governments.

Looking further into this I discovered that on this date (August 12th) in 1876 the political cartoon below was published in Harpers Weekly.  The caption reads: Declaration of Equality.  Justice “five more wanted.”  The cartoon refers to a riot in that took place in Hamburg, South Carolina as the local powers were trying to created their own Redeemer government (more info on the cartoon here).

This word, redemption, did not start off with negative meaning, of course.  I would go further to suggest that today it has shaken off those prejudicial roots and reclaimed its proper meaning.  In the same way I think “gay” “retarded” and other such words do not need to maintain their current connotatively negative meanings.  All it takes is some education and some discipline.

Teach your children that gay is not an insult, it means either homosexual or happy.  I had a 16 year old tell me that he had never even considered the fact that anyone would be upset at his use of the term “gay” to describe something that is stupid, bad or inferior.  Point out to your friends who say something is retarded that, they are insulting a segment of the population that, realistically, could be very real and very close to them very soon.  What if their son or daughter was born with Down Syndrome, how would they then feel about the use of the term.  Using a word that represents an entire demographic as a put down fosters ignorance and intolerance.  Please… think before using them this way.

I have this goofy dream that in a generation or two, with just a modicum of effort, words that are being “misused” today can be reclaimed, just like others have…

And that would be a sweet redemption indeed…

August 11, 2008

My name is Soren, and I’m a hypocrite …

Filed under: Just life,Observations — sbj @ 2:29 am

I am a hypocrite.  I spent over an hour recently arguing against perpetuating negative stereotypes, while listening to music that does that very thing.

I am a hypocrite.  I admonished a friend recently for being negative, right after reading supportive responses to my post complaining about my experience with a time share company.

I am a hypocrite.  As I have cautioned people against falling in to the traps society has set for us; for following the crowd, instead of being their own person, while I was following the crowd.

We are all hypocrites to some degree I suppose, a fact I have to accept about myself just as readily as I point it out in others.  However, while I cannot do much, ultimately, to control how hypocritical others are, I can do my best to contain my own hypocrisy.

Even better, you all can help.  I have a fantastic network of readers out there.  Each of you (that I know of) has distinguished yourselves in some way, at some time, in front of me as a person with high quality of character.

What I’m asking of you is this.  If you see me behaving in a way that runs counter to how you think I might want to be conducting myself, please tell me.  I may disagree or make excuses when you tell me, I am human, and I do get defensive.  However, I promise to reflect upon what you say, digest it and take action… just as soon as I remove my head from my… well… you get the idea.

I am a hypocrite, but not by choice, and I will fight this little slice of human nature to the very end…

Thank you in advance for your support :)

August 10, 2008

A bedtime story…

Filed under: Just life,goofy — sbj @ 2:03 pm

Last night, after I went to bed I heard a Notification Of Inequity in the Symphonic Equilibrium (NOISE). So I Reversed Optimal Sleeping Energy (ROSE) to investigate.  At first, of course I tried using the most basic investigative tools, Lighting Assimilated for Mans Purposes (LAMP), and when that failed to reveal anything I turned on the National Enlightenment Without Substantiation (NEWS) broadcast.

When watching the NEWS for information on the NOISE, I saw some new Advocates Demanding Servitude (AD’S) which distracted me from my task and led me to Budget Undermining Yearning (BUY).

At this point I had forgotten all about the NOISE, but could not go back to sleep.  So I decided to Really Educate and Attain Diversity (READ) a good Bountiful Oracle Of Knowledge (BOOK).  Once again, I was reminded how much more enjoyable and rewarding it is to read then to Willingly Acquiesce To Channeled Hyperbole (WATCH) the NEWS.

I guess I’ll never understand the mass appeal of Trumped-up Video (TV).  Oh well, back to Basic Entropic Disorganization (BED) for me…

August 7, 2008

It’s as easy as riding a bike… or… not

Filed under: Just life,Observations — sbj @ 5:24 pm

Today was day one of my little bus experiment.  I’m trying to accomplish two things, one selfish and one selfless(ish).  First, I want more time to read and I don’t particularly like driving all the time. Secondly, I want to reduce my oil usage and stop supporting an industry that, for so many reasons, should not be getting encouragement.

I am hoping to have a bit of a series of blogs about my bus experiences, the people I meet, sotries I hear, etc.  I’m expecting it to be an uplifting experience.  However, today’s story is a little different than I expected.

I rarely prepare before undertaking activities, it is either a blessing or a curse, I have not figured out which just yet.  But, in this case, I did get online and check out the schedule etc.  One of the things I discovered, that I thought was pretty cool at the time, was this (quoted from the bus schedule):

Stop System: the Boise city buses operate on a flag-stop system, which means you can flag down an approaching bus if you are on the same side of the street as the bus is traveling.  Nampa/Caldwell buses operate on a fixed-stop system which means a bus driver will only pick up and drop off passengers at designated locations marked with a bus stop sign.

The problems with expectations is that they are so easily dashed…

I got to the bus stop on the corner about 5 minutes early.  Because I do not like to stand around, and we are on a flag-stop system, I decided to walk along the route and catch the bus as it came by.  About 7 minutes into my walk my plan started coming together, I heard the bus, turned around and flagged him (AKA waved) to stop.  For a reason I was unable to determine at the time, he apparently thought it would be better for me to “stop” than for him… so he flagged me right back… and kept going.

This is where my lack of careful research failed me.  I decided to continue walking along the bus route, thinking that soon, another (less brake-impaired) bus driver would come along (with his trusty stead) and whisk me away to my intended destination.  After walking for an hour, I discovered that this particular route only had two busses and they are an hour apart (Note to self: read the entire schedule, not just until you find the bus you want).

When the next bus ambled up, I was clever.  I put my fare ($1) in my hand… and then flagged (a mighty flag I might add… I was not waiting another hour to flag again!!!).  I figured the buck would grease the wheels of the operation.  Either he would recognize the money as the universal sign for “please stop for me, its your job, and the reason for your existence on this street” or, he would be into strippers and see it as an opportunity to enhance the evenings fun… either way… I was getting a ride out of it.

It worked!

However, when he pulled over, he informed me that he did so out of his own benevolence, and that if I were not at a bus stop, he could not pick me up, or he would get a citation.  To me, this seemed like a good time to say that, after walking a hour along his bus route, I felt fairly safe in stating that there were no “bus stops” per se.  No signs, no benches… nothing.  And… this was a flag-stop system!!!  I knew this because it was the one thing I *did* read before leaving the comfort of my home on my rugged South East passage.

He quickly dismissed this by saying they were in the middle (started about two weeks ago) of converting all routes to fixed-stop and if I looked at the road (or in some cases sidewalk) in certain designated areas I would see spray painted, in pink, the bus route number and stop number (i.e. 10 – 37 for route 10, stop 37).  You cannot possible imagine my embarrassment for not having noticed these key indicators before!

So, I asked for clarification, “you are in the process of changing to fixed routes, but don’t actually have the fixed stops in place yet.  Further all of your documentation says that you are a flag-stop system, and if you stop between fixed stops, you will get a ticket for it.”  He confirmed that I had correctly summarized the situation.
Is it just me, or would it make sense for the BPD (Boise Police Department) and the BUS (Boise Urban Stages… yep, that’s what it stands for here in Boise) to TALK (you know, talk… comunicate!).  How tough would it be for the PBD to just let them go on flag-stopping for a few more weeks until the fixed stops were in place?  I grabbed a comment card… I’m going to direct them here… there is not enough room on the little card for me to be frustrated and still try to be funny :)

Side note: the driver who did pick me up was *fantastic*.  He took the time to explain everything to me, including showing me the pink markings (cleverly disguised as electrical or phone lines), and went out of his way to make sure I understood the system.  Additionally, he was a very friendly and funny guy, and I hope I get him as my diver more often!

August 6, 2008

A date which will live in infamy…

Filed under: Observations — sbj @ 3:43 pm

I find it somewhat ironic how few people remember the date of the Pearl Harbor attack, the “date that will live on in infamy.”  I knew it was December, but, honestly I had to double check to see that it was the seventh.  On that day, Japan, in attacking the base and taking 2,300 American lives, brought the United States into the Pacific theater of World War Two and put themselves on a path that led directly to August 6th, 1945.

If you are not familiar with that date, it is when we dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima.  Today is the anniversary of that event.  “Little Boy” killed, directly, some 80,000 people, and by the years end had claimed another 10,000 (or more depending on what numbers you use) lives due to radiation and injury.  Not exactly an even trade… but… they started it, right?

What I find particularly interesting is that Hiroshima and Nagasaki are remembered and memorialized (I’m going to a ceremony tonight, in fact) while Toyama (a city of 128,000 completely wiped out by incendiary bombs), Tokyo (90,000 dead from incendiary bombing) and Dresden (40,000 dead in only two days of incendiary bombing… although to be fair most of the death came from the ensuing fire storm) are largely ignored.

I believe this is largely done to provide a cautionary tale.  These are the horrors that can be inclicted by a single weapon if we allow this technology to proliferate.  Which makes a certain amount of sense, however, I am compelled to think that the problem is not the implement, but rather the possessor and user of the instrument.

It did not take an atomic bomb to kill the people in this picture (and some 40,000 of their brethren) in Dresden… it only took the will of two nations to inflict this carnage.  The same can be said for Tokyo and its 90,000 casualties.  You can find a similar number, I have seen it range from between 43,000 and 94,000, for the number of Iraqi civilian deaths since the start of the Iraq war.

Today marks an important anniversary, as does February 13th (Dresden), and September 11th and so many other dates that mark the horrors of war and needless violence.  Remember this day, and the others, but take from them the important lessons.  Atomic bombs, incendiary devices and airplanes to do unleash themselves upon the innocent.

The caution and concern, it seems to me, should not be with the technology (not that we shouldn’t be mindful of the effects of our technological advances on both people and planet) but with its stewards.  Are we grooming future leaders who are going to further this pattern of death and destruction, or those who will be disinclined to engage so aggressively?

The number of days on our calendars that will be marked in black in the future will not be a function of or technology, but, rather, a function of our will.

August 5, 2008

Wha’chu talk’n ’bout willis?

Filed under: Observations — sbj @ 7:29 pm

In a thread discussing Toby Keith’s unfortunate remarks in a radio interview last week in which he stated that blacks do not think of Obama as being very black, and further that Obama walks, talks, and acts more like a Caucasian (that is a paraphrase, the recording is on youtube, you can look it up if you want to hear it exactly), the conversation (in comments) turned to speaking proper English.  It appears that speaking proper English is the primary indicator of being “white” or “black” in some peoples minds.

Given that we picked this language up from a nation that we later went to war with (twice!!!) because they were tyrannical, oppressive and lacking in basic civil liberties… I’m not sure that I want being overly conversant in that language to be the signature quality of my race (of course I don’t want anything to differentiate any race from another, but if there has to be something, I’d prefer it be something else).

If someone (black, white, brown or green) wants to add a little flavor to spoken English through ebonics or some other cultural evolution, I’m all for it.  Further, I’m certainly not going to think less of them for adding depth and diversity to our language.

For me, that’s not being black or white… that’s being American.

Would you like some fry’s with that shake?

Filed under: Observations — sbj @ 5:06 pm

A couple of years ago, while walking down the street in the thriving metropolis of Boise, Idaho, I decided to share some information with my cohorts.  I asked, as we strolled the twilight streaked sidewalks if they knew the origins of parking meters.  Interested, they asked me to share, so I did.

They originated, I told them, as a WPA (or one of those new deal organizations, I was not actually sure which one) depression era program.  The idea was to simply create jobs by circulating money.  People would have to pay to park downtown.  People would then have to collect this money from the meters (new jobs!!!) and those people would be paid by, you guessed it, the money they collected from the meters!

Oregon did a similar thing with their gas stations some time ago.  You cannot pump your own gas in Oregon.  Literally every station is a service station.  You pull up, they pump, you pay.  It keeps people working.  I actually like it because, in addition to providing jobs… it gives me another set of people to socialize with (whether they like it or not).

I bring these stories up because the contrast between them, and what is going on in other areas of business within our country, is stark.  I find it interesting that so many people are complaining about illegal aliens coming into our country and taking our jobs, when, as a society, we are doing everything possible to eliminate jobs.

When I go to the grocery store, there are five or six self checkout lines, and one or two clerks ready to help me if I elect to interact with a human.  When I go to the airport, there is a bank of self check-in terminals, and a single customer service agent… there to help me if I have trouble with self check-in.  More banking transactions are done with machines than with tellers (by a wide margin).  I could go on, but you get the idea.

Why is replacing US workers with technology “progress”, while replacing US workers with immigrant workers (legal or illegal) is “problematic.”  I fail to understand or embrace the hypocrisy in this situation.  What is particularly vexing to me is that the jobs being replaced by technology are jobs the typical US citizen wouldn’t mind having (or might even want) while the jobs being “gobbled up” by immigrant workers are typically menial, undesirable jobs.

I’m not for a wide open border, I understand the need to regulate the population to some degree.  I’m also not for spending my tax dollars to support people who are using services they do not pay for with their own taxes.  However, I do not think the solution is sitting around whining about lost jobs that we don’t want in the first place.  Lets make these immigrants tax paying citizens and collect taxes on the money they are making.  Then, once we have completely automated the agricultural process, and their jobs have been replaced by technology they can pump gas and collect the change from parking meters like the rest of us.

Three hundred million crack addicts can’t be wrong…

Filed under: Environment,Observations — sbj @ 3:41 pm

I read a terrific quote the other day by New York Times columnist Thomas L Friedman.  When discussing the nations energy crisis he said:

When a person is addicted to crack cocaine, his problem is not that the price of crack is going up. … The cure is not cheaper crack, which would only perpetuate the addictions and all the problems it is creating.  The cure is to break the addiction.

I love this analogy.  As you may be aware, I am not an advocate of finding ways to drop the price of gas, in fact it was not long ago that, in this very space, I suggested raising gas prices significantly (at the risk of touting myself, if you have not read that entry, I *highly* recommend that you do) via more taxes.  I completely agree that gas prices are not the problem, gas addiction is.

We use around 1 million years of natural energy (the energy the earth is capable of creating on its own) per year.  This does not bode well for sustainability.  More to the point, it is a horrible investment. We are a nation completely dependent on a rapidly deprecating resource.  In the next 100 years or so (a relatively short period of time given the ground we need to cover) we will live in a world where oil is not the primary means of producing energy.  It will not fuel our cars, it will not provide our power, or much of anything else, because it simply will not exist in a great enough volume to accommodate the worlds needs.  This is an undeniable, irrefutable fact.

We are actively trying to reduce the price, and encourage (or at least enable) the use of something that is not going to be here in the very near future.  How does this make sense?  What business person, in their right mind would invest this way, and, would you give that person your money to steward (if so, I’ve got some ocean frotn property I’d like to talk to you about)?

Regardless of what long term renewable solution you prefer, oil is not the answer.  Neither is spending money or passing legislation to decrease the cost of oil.

After reading the quote above I glanced at the traits of a crack addict and was frightened by what I saw.

1. Paranoia
2. Hyper vigilance
3. Compulsive behavior
4. Hyper sexuality
5. Anxiety, irritability; argumentative
6. Transient panic
7. Impaired judgement

In my view, our national “personality” is exhibiting every one of these signs.  If our nation was your teen age son or daughter, and you were an observant, responsible parent, you would suspect something was wrong.  In this case, I think we know what the dependency is… the question becomes, what are we going to do about it?  I tend agree with Mr Friedman, a cheaper dime bag is not the answer.

August 3, 2008

Re post for a friend and colleague…

Filed under: Uncategorized — sbj @ 5:18 pm

I started my professional career in the travel industry. It is where my roots took and my current path revealed itself.  I still stay in contact with friends and colleagues from the industry and I received this email yesterday from one of them.  If you have a minute, give it a quick read, and if you think you can support what he is suggesting (remember this effects more than just the travel industry… we all put gas in our cars), please add your voice to the cause.

thx, sbj

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

I have sought your collaboration for many years on a variety of government and travel industry policy issues; we have had many successes together. Nothing, however, has been nearly as important as the current oil-price crisis to our travel and tourism industry, economy and way of life. We need to immediately build upon two positive developments.

First, Democratic and Republican Senators, who comprise the so-called Gang-of-Ten agreed, against very long odds, to a bipartisan oil-crisis plan–the New Energy Reform Act of 2008 (ERA)–and announced it Friday, August 1 (see http://www.netvibes.com/btc#Oil-Crisis). Second, the Associated Press reported today, Saturday, that, “… [Senator Barack] Obama issued a written statement warmly welcoming a proposal sent to Senate leaders Friday by 10 senators, five from each party.” This is very good news!

The next-order-of-business is for Congress to pass this proposed legislation for the President’s signature. Congress is not scheduled to reconvene for 5 weeks. That’s too long to wait. ERA represents a long-overdue message to the oil-futures markets that America can solve her most strategic of problems. This message can attack the psychology of the marketplace and help drive oil prices down in the near term. The travel industry and consumers need relief now, not September, or worse, after a new President takes office.

Much mischief can occur in 5-weeks time; we need to strike now while there is momentum, opportunity and hope!

Congressional leaders or President Bush should call Congress back to Washington for a special session straightaway. It should not take Congress more than a week to focus on a single issue and conclude the people’s work on this oil-price crisis. (Virtually all Members of Congress, that BTC and other travel industry organizations recently met with, said they would welcome a special session of Congress in August.)

In an effort to amplify this message to elected officials, BTC has created a 2-minute survey asking for your view on whether or not a special session of Congress is warranted. Please consider participating at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=ayYD2_2baZYd_2fSLrb5e3sakA_3d_3d

SPECIAL REQUEST: I have never requested this before; however, given the voter-centric nature of this political-communications outreach, it would be hugely important to forward this email, not only to clients, members, partners and colleagues, but to family and friends. We need voters from all states and political parties to assist with this time-sensitive communication to Washington.

Best regards,

Kevin Mitchell
Business Travel Coalition

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