Tuesday, 25 April 2006

Best Gas Price Medicine? Build Public Transportation

Americans need to get something through their heads. The price of gas is not going to go down to $2 a gallon again. Ever. Period.

The emergence of China as a global power has and will fundamentally change our world, and we need to adjust to it. And part of that adjustment will be paying real prices for oil.

Congress is getting all in a tizzy about these gas prices, pointing their fingers this way and that. But Republicans seem to be forgetting about the enormous gift they gave the oil industry last year, an energy bill that gave huge subsidies and tax breaks to big oil. Last year the five largest oil companies, Exxon Mobil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips took home more than $111 billion in profits. As CNN’s John Roberts noted recently, that's greater than the GDP of 174 of the world's countries

To a large degree the US has brought this upon itself by not investing in an even rudimentary public transporation system. We are a nation obsessed with the car. So much so that in all the recent news reports asking how high gas would have to go before Americans stopped driving, noone’s thought to point out the obvious: They can’t stop driving no matter how much you charge for gas, because they have no other way to get around. Gas could go up to $20 and they’d still have to pay it.

Monday, 24 April 2006

There is No Such Thing as Techno!

Ok so this has been a pet peeve of mine for awhile (one among many, admittedly) so I thought I’d devote an entry to it.

I’ve followed electronic music since I was 16. I’m a big fan, and have moved through the years from going to raves in high school early on in college, rocking out to disco house, trance, anthems etc, to today moving into emerging genres like electroclash.

Never, in all my years of being an electronic music fan, have I ever heard the word “techno” used except when preceded by the words, “I don’t like.”

In fact I’ve never heard the word used in a non-negative sense. I hear it a lot from people who don’t like such-and-such a club because they play “techno,” and they want to listed to hip-hop and pop music.

Tuesday, 11 April 2006

Prodi's Won

After a nerve-wracking 24 hours, the votes are finally all counted and there is a definitive result. Silvio Berlusconi is out. The center-left coalition under Romano Prodi has scored a slim victory over the conservative leader Berlusconi, thanks to the new expatriate voting blocks Berlusconi himself created.

Berlusconi is one of the most controversial leaders in Europe. His time at the helm of the EU presidency (they have a rotating presidency where each country assumes it for a period of time) was colossally embarrassing for the continent, and his hard-line tactics and cult of personality have failed to solve Italy’s economic woes while inching the country further and further to the right. Berlusconi has been Italy’s longest-serving prime minister since World War II and many Italians only support him because they’re afraid that dumping him would plunge Italy back into the political chaos that has dogged the country for 50 years.