Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sold - To Big Oil

Sold to Big Oil

Standing before a room of oil company executives in June, John McCain flip-flopped and declared support for coastal oil drilling. Now the Washington Post is reporting that, within days, oil and gas execs ponied up nearly $1 million to elect McCain.1 It's another piece of evidence that in a McCain White House, oil companies will call the shots—just as they have with President Bush.

Yesterday, MoveOn members jumped into action in response to the Post story, placing "For Sale" signs on McCain headquarters in 10 battleground states to call public attention to it.2 At the same time, McCain made our point for us, holding a photo-op yesterday in front of a California oil well and renewing his push for offshore drilling.3

McCain's hoping to use gas prices as a wedge issue to win the election. That's why it's so critical that we keep spreading the message that McCain's been heavily influenced by the oil companies—and so we can't count on him to solve the energy crisis. When people think of Bush, they think "oil," but that's not true of McCain yet—even though his energy policy is almost identical to Bush's and his campaign is literally run by oil lobbyists!4

Here's a video that makes the case, from our friends at Progressive Accountability. Please check it out, then forward it to a few friends, post it on a blog, or stick it on your Facebook page.

Click here to watch the video: McCain: 29 Guesses video Click here

The energy crisis is shaping up to be a decisive issue in the election. MoveOn's ongoing campaign on the energy crisis has two goals: 1) highlight the progressive solution—a huge plan to shift our economy to clean energy, prevent climate change, and create millions of jobs, and 2) work together to block McCain and the Republicans from pushing gimmicks like drilling to win votes.

Please forward this email to your friends and family to spread the word about John McCain's ties to big oil companies.

Thanks for all you do.

–Noah, Daniel, Tanya, Karin and the rest of the team

Sources: 1. "Industry Gushed Money After Reversal on Drilling," Washington Post, July 27, 2008 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=3985&id=13351-6736519-Ql1R6gx&t=3

2. "Activist group protests at McCain headquarters," WHP CBS 21 Harrisburg, July 28, 2008 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=3986&id=13351-6736519-Ql1R6gx&t=4

3. "Offshore Drilling is Something We Have to Do," Time Magazine, July 28, 2008 http://thepage.time.com/2008/07/28/oil/

4. "Oil Money: John McCain's Close Ties to the Petroleum Industry," Campaign Money Watch, July 11, 2008 http://www.campaignmoney.org/mccainoil

Monday, July 28, 2008

Vacation karma

This is just a small addition to my last blog entry. It seems I should keep my complaints to myself, since I was just asked to cancel my vacation in August. Seems too many of my co-workers are having babies and/or family issues for management to handle. It's a good thing that I don't have any medical issues or family, I guess. (Right, like I don't have any of that to deal with, especially now!) The resentment seethes inside, though. When it comes to a decision to take vacation or lose my job, looks like the whole thing is a moot point. Guess I better stop complaining about work!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Some random thoughts on vacations

I recently had a week off from work, but my husband gets fewer vacation days than I do, so he was working all week. He works 3rd shift, and normally the difference in our schedules works for both of us. It was difficult to have so much free time on my hands while being quiet so that he could sleep. Finally, I started reading a thick book, a refuge from boredom familiar from my youth. As the week wore on, though, I found myself irritated by this reminder of my younger years. With my fair skin and tendency to heat exhaustion, I was usually to be found inside the house. Our often weekly visits to the library provided me with the opportunity to escape into any one of the big pile of books I picked. I do not regret the hours spent with my nose in a book; they have served me well over the years. But even a favorite activity can lose its appeal when it is repeated often. I'm an Aries; I need action! Growing up poor in a rural area didn't leave many options for summer entertainment. As Jack Nicholson says in As Good as It Gets, not all of us grew up with summers at the lake and noodle salad. I don't remember once in my childhood taking a family vacation. There were occasional camping trips at a nearby state park, which was also where we went to swim for free until the lake became clogged with "seaweed". Rural means in the country, so there was no city pool for us to go to every day to hang out. Even if there had been, the price of a pool pass would have been out of reach for a family of 7 on minimum wage. I can count on one hand the number of times I've actually gone somewhere on vacation since I was an adult: a trip to Bermuda, where I spent the entire 3 days sick in bed at the hotel alone; a short cruise to the Bahamas, which was a blast until I got sun poisoning; and our honeymoon in Vegas, a week of bliss except for the abscessed tooth and subsequent yeast infection. Wow, I didn't realize I'd been sick every time until I wrote that. The first two were sales incentive prizes won by the man I lived with then, and I saved for several years to pay for Vegas. Another thing that started to annoy me during my recent week off was the constant repetition in the news of the buzzword "staycation". This word was coined to describe a vacation at home by those who think everyone in America is living the dream. I read several articles with suggestions for taking a "staycation", and it got under my skin enough to prompt this blog! There are several reasons for my annoyance. 1) I work at home. How refreshing is it to vacation where you work? 2) I live in the country. It's hard to act like a tourist in your own city when there isn't a city nearby. I'm always a tourist in any city. 3) I'm not wealthy. Who can afford to hire maid service or a personal chef? One of the advantages of a "staycation" is not spending money that you don't have. If I had that kind of money, I'd go to Aruba instead. 4) I don't have children. Must every facet of life be centered around making the kiddies happy? Doesn't anyone realize that households without children are the majority? 5) I know no one who vacations in the South of France, the Caribbean, or Cancun regularly (or ever). While the middle class starts getting accustomed to having less money and being squeezed down to lower class (think Clark Griswold moving in with Cousin Eddie), millions of Americans are now living in desperate times. The news media report "the hottest new trend" while ignoring the alarming cause: billions of dollars spent on two wars that cannot be won. Forgot about the War on Drugs? 6) Who put the idea in my head that I need to go somewhere on vacation, anyways? It's everywhere in popular culture nowadays. I think it may have started in the 1950's. Curiously, Eisenhower signed the Federal Aid Highway Act in 1956 to begin work on the interstate highway system, the same year The Dinah Shore Chevy Show started. On this show, Shore made popular the iconic jingle "See the USA in Your Chevrolet". With the new freeways, previously isolated Americans could travel much more quickly across the country in low-priced automobiles. Remember, too, that this was the post-WWII economy, which was booming. Most families had a single bread-winner, Dad. The contrast to today's economy, double-income households, crumbling infrastructure, and general lifestyle is dramatic. Ironically, the very people who promoted big family vacations, the government and car manufacturers, are the ones who have made them unaffordable to all but the truly wealthy. Even though I know that I should be content with puttering around the house for a week and grateful to have a break from my job, I dream of a "real" vacation to Hawaii or Aruba. My husband and I had a long talk the other night, and he feels the same way. Next year is our fifth wedding anniversary, so we discussed the possibility of going back there for a week if we can afford to fly. We also talked about taking a cruise to Bermuda, since he doesn't feel comfortable yet to fly over water, although we won't celebrate our August anniversary there because of hurricane season. We can drive to Baltimore, the closest port for Bermuda cruises, possibly at the end of May. So I will be spending some time over the next few weeks researching the least expensive way to travel back to the island where I lived for 2 years a lifetime ago. That should keep me busy until my next week of vacation, the second week of August, when my husband and I plan to actually try a "staycation" by taking short day trips. My 1995 Geo Prizm still gets at least 35 mpg even after nearly 105,000 miles (which is why I find the new-car mpg disgusting and won't replace my car until I have to and I can get one that doesn't use bloody oil). Since the only day-trip planned for the weekend of my last vacation was canceled because of rain, maybe we'll go to the Great Lakes Renaissance Faire and I'll get to travel not just in space but in time as well. Maybe then I'll feel more refreshed and able to take another several months in my tower!