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Sex, drugs, offshore drilling, 9/11 and hurricane season

September 11 2008 | Jim's Blog,
by Jim

I remember, when I was a kid, looking at the TV and seeing Richard Nixon trying to wrangle his way out of the Watergate mess. For a while I thought that was it... that was the moment we collectively lost confidence in the government always doing the right thing.

It took me a few years and a lot of history books to understand that the Nixon moment, while poignant for many generations, was (unfortunately) not a groundbreaking moment. One can trace bad decisions back to Adam.

I was reminded of this as I drove home last night and heard about this story breaking "Sex, drugs, gifts uncovered in government oil probe." (Fig 1)

The surreal part is that the story is a backdrop for politicians' current interest in drilling offshore (see my story below). I'm not sure Hunter S. Thompson could have written a tale with this reach. What would he call it, Fear and Loathing in the Interior Department?

And to top it all off, it's 9/11.

The anniversary of a horrific attack that many would say is related to petroleum. Somehow, someway, 9/11 didn't really teach us how inextricably tied to petroleum we are. It took $4.40 gasoline to make us understand it.

What's more, it's hurricane season (Fig 2).

Of course it's hurricane season. It's fall after all. Every fall is hurricane season.

It's the season for storm after storm after storm to slam the east coast, the Gulf of Mexico and nearby Texas waters...exactly where oil rigs are located and more proposed (note: hurricane Ike is shutting down rigs as I write this).

We're addicted to oil. Our President confessed what many have known for years. When a person is addicted, it isn't helpful to give them more of the same.

We need leadership thinking in Washington, Silicon Valley and beyond. Friedman's newest book explores some alternatives (Fig 3). So does Fred Krupps "Earth: The Sequel".

Let's stop looking for the next fix. Let's stop believing government employees will always act in our best interest. Let's move as fast as we can to alternative fuels. Let's not drill our coasts to top off an SUV.

Read the blog posting below and send your views to Washington.
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