Archive for June, 2008


Provocations, Progress (?) and Puns

June 7, 2008

So, the oil price has spiked overnight. So, it’s supposed to be due to a number of factors, such as America’s sharp rise in unemployment, an Israeli official’s comments stating that an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities is a likely possibility and gee, uh, I don’t know… The fact that consumption of and demand for oil is at an all time world-wide high and that oil is a finite resource that we are, well, running out of. The first two factors are no doubt important. But the third factor is the most important thing to remember about the recent feather flurry in rich western nations (such as here in Australia) about the oh so terrible jump in petrol prices. The way the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd and the the Opposition Leader, Brendan Nelson (or is that Malcolm Turnbull) have carried on about it the last few weeks has been a prime example of blubbering politicians simply not being able to grasp the gravity or seriousness of the chief underlying cause of this (political speak) “added pressure to the economy”. Of course, I have neglected to mention the just as serious negative environmental impacts that our consumption and demand for oil have. What’s needed is a shift away from oil to more economically viable and less ecologically damaging means of producing our energy needs. Funding needs to be diverted to science to achieve this and harmful interventions (or silly exemptions from the Australian Rudd government) that are suffocating market activity towards this end need to be stopped. One step foward. Two steps back…

Barack Obama has finally declared victory in the Democratic Primaries and Hillary seems a bit lost in the wilderness. I’ve heard many commentators dissecting it all and assessing whether this whole process has meant progress for the cause of women and/or African Amercians in the modern United States. I’m inclined to say yes to both. Whether the system actually changes or is changed is a completely different issue, but attempted participation in some active way seems to be up at least on the Democrats side. Both Hillary and Obama’s campaigns seem to have energised and activated millions of Americans from both sexes (for both sides), from many different segments of the middle classes and some from the working classes and of course from people from a plethora of different races. I said it early last year about the Australian election, and I guess the same is going to go for the American one this year: It’s going to be a very interesting year in politics.

Oh, and something annoying! With all these damn stories on the TV and on the net about world oil prices at the moment, I’m going crazy with the bad puns ( “Speculation sets world oil price ablaze”, “Oil price fuels inflation”, “Petrol prices fueling flames at the bowser” etc.) – some stories even have several within themselves. Meh! Bah humbug! Go backpedal on CO2 emissions and ride a bike to work!