Tom's Thoughts

Location: Granite Falls, North Carolina, United States

I'm an ordained United Methodist minister no longer pastoring churches, a former media producer with skills ten years out of date, a writer trying to sell my first novel, and a sales associate keeping body and soul together working for the People's Republic of Corporate America. I'm married to the most wonderful woman in the world, who was my best friend for 17 years before we married.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Energy Redux

It has been over a month since I wrote here about transportation. Since then, gasoline has risen by almost a dollar a gallon. It seems a lot more needs to be said about transportation.

The government subsidizes automobile transportation to a remarkable extent. They also subsidize the airlines, but let's stick to surface transportation for now.

It isn't GM and it isn't Exxon that builds, maintains, and widens roads. It's our tax dollars. Now Congress has passed an energy bill that gives these companies, already obscenely profitable, especially the oil companies, subsidies out of my tax dollars and they express their thanks by raising my costs at the pump.

The time has come for the people to demand the automobile companies incorporate existing technology that will cause a fleetwide average of 40 mpg. This technology is in use in Europe. It needs to be utilized in America. We ought to refuse to buy any new cars that do not incorporate that technology. After all, there are plenty of great used cars out there that we could buy instead. We need to buy these used cars instead of rewarding the new car makers for their corporate irresponsibility in refusing to make their new vehicles more efficient.

Thursday, August 04, 2005


I read the stupidest post in the Charlotte Observer "Buzz" column this morning: "Blaming the increase in hurricanes on global warming is like blaming the increase in illegal immigrants on all the new Taco Bells."

First, it makes no sense at all; second, it flies in the face of proven science. Global warming is a settled scientific fact. The Atlantic ocean is warmer than it used to be. Hurricanes grow stronger over warm water than they do over cold. That's why they dissipate over the northern Atlantic when they don't hit the mainland. That's why you seldom hear of hurricanes threatening Greenland. DUH!!!

The question we need to face is, what are we going to do about it?

Congress just passed a law that was supposed to help, but will it? It extends Daylight Saving Time into November, and that, they say, will save energy. They did that during the first oil crisis in the Nixon Administration. They had to stop it when too many children were killed waiting for their school buses in the dark. I predict that will happen again.

Otherwise, the new "Energy" bill gives great subsidies of my tax money to companies that are reporting obscene profits from selling us oil. So how is that going to reduce our dependence on oil? In fact, studies show it will make us more dependent on oil, especially foreign oil. It will also raise gasoline prices at the pump. Now that will cause us to reduce our use of gas. But at whose expense?

I did buy a car that gets better mileage to replace the use of my truck as my primary vehicle for my half-hour commute to work. But what about that? Why is there no public transportation that I could take to keep from having to drive everywhere?

It's time to think about what will cause us to reduce our energy usage, live better, breathe more easily, and still be able to travel freely. Options are open, and there are a lot of good ideas.

But giving more government subsidies to the oil companies that own Congress and the White House will not do it.