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And Now... An Important Message From Rick Santorum

Cross-posted to Jack & Jill Politics I just got this in my inbox, and thought I'd share how the insane, bigoted and ignorant policies of the fringe, so-called "religious" right will be used yet again in an attempt to distract this country from the choices facing it. I'll offer commentary throughout this very personal letter I received from Rick "Man Dog Love" Santorum.
Dear Friend of Marriage, My friend, I've never come to you with a more urgent message: Unless we act today, we will lose the battle for marriage--not a decade from now, not "someday," but quite possibly in the next few months.
I'm pretty sure being called "friend" by Rick Santorum is a lot more threatening to me than any changes to the nation's marriage laws
How? Just weeks ago, a handful of out-of-touch judges overturned the will of the people in California by repealing Proposition 22, which defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman and was overwhelmingly approved by the voters in 2000.
Four California judges endorsed two big, very bad ideas. First, they extended the internationally recognized human right to marry to include same-sex marriage. Not even in Massachusetts or in New Jersey could the courts stomach the idea that same-sex marriage is deeply rooted in our foundational American traditions of human rights.
You're right Friend Rick. Extending international human rights is not a foundational American tradition.
The second big idea endorsed by the California court is even less promising: sexual orientation should be treated just like race under the California equal protection amendment, subject to "strict scrutiny." This is a ruling which, if left undisturbed, means that Protestants, Catholics, Jews and Muslims who see marriage as the union of husband and wife, and view sexual activity as best confined to marriage so defined, are in the exact position as racists under California law.
I'm pretty sure you're bullshitting me here. Do continue though!
Hollywood, academia and some in the medical profession launched a huge offensive over the past decade to change the attitude of Americans about the homosexual community.
Perfect. I believe Item One from the Official Gay Agenda was "build a coalition between Hollyood, academia and the medical profession -- but not the entire medical profession, just some -- in order to change American attitudes about our community"
They have succeeded in shaping the minds of young people against traditional marriage and intimidating and punishing anyone who offers a defense of marriage. A sophisticated network of wealthy gay activists are now trying to exploit this change in attitudes by spending millions on stealth campaigns to defeat pro-family state legislators and pass gay marriage laws.
Item Two from the Official Gay Agenda: "While the skyrocketing divorce rate may turn a subset of young minds against traditional marriage, the most effective way to promote gayness is to field a sophisticated -- not "complex" because that word isn't gay enough -- network of wealthy gay activists.
They are pushing the battle first where the secular left is the strongest: deep in "blue states" including New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island, Maryland and now even in my home commonwealth, Pennsylvania.

That's why I need you to act today. Use this hyperlink to help launch the National Organization for Marriage's 2008 State Action Plan, including a sophisticated issue ad campaign--radio, TV, and print ads to drive home the point: don't mess with marriage.

FIrst, congrats on figuring out how the Internet works and including a hyperlink, the doing what all users of the web commonly do: referring to a hyperlink as a "hyperlink." Second, I'm pretty sure you plagiarized that last line from the great state of Texas.
If we don't fight back, our children and grandchildren will get harmful and confusing messages about marriage, including this one: there's no difference between same-sex and opposite-sex unions and anyone who defends marriage is a bigot. Make no mistake, gay marriage is not about letting Adam visit Steve in the hospital or letting them do what they want in private. Gay marriage is about using the power of government to propagate a new faith: Individuals who oppose gay marriage are hateful bigots and they and their faith community should be punished.
[Insert joke about Adam and Steve here]
Why are they pushing so hard to push gay marriage laws through state legislatures? Because, they want to drive a nail into the coffin of any possibility of a federal marriage amendment. Because, once it is "normalized" in this way, they are counting on the courts and the culture to then spread gay marriage throughout the country. Because they know that once they get government committed to the idea that traditional marriage is bigotry, like racism, they can use the power of big government to marginalize, stigmatize and repress people of faith in American life. And because they believe people of faith like you and me have no way to fight back. Their strategy is simple: Use the big money power of high-tech billionaires to get politicians to ignore the values and voices of regular Americans.
Wait, which is it: academics? Hollywood? Medical Professionals? Sophisticated wealthy gay activists? Or now, "high-tech billionaires?"
That means, folks like you and me who:
  • Know marriage is the union of husband and wife;
  • Don't want their hard-earned tax dollars used to subsidize novel family forms, and;
  • Certainly do not wish their public schools to teach captive children that their parents and grandparents are evil discriminators for opposing gay marriage.
That's right, while we are tending to our jobs, going to church, and raising our families, a handful of wealthy gay men are plotting ways to use their giant fortunes to reshape the entire American political landscape in their own image.
You mean like these guys?
Sound a little hard to believe? I thought so too, until I read the March 1, 2007 Atlantic Monthly article that documents the detailed plans and huge influence these men are having, led by one gay billionaire activist named Tim Gill. The article is called "They Won't Know What Hit Them," and the subtitle pretty much says it all: "Tim Gill has a mission: stop the Rick Santorums of tomorrow before they get started. How a network of gay political donors is stealthily ... reshaping American politics." That grabbed my attention, how about yours?

If so, I need your help to fight back. And the best way I know is to help launch the National Organization for Marriage's 2008 State Action Plan, so that we can send a clear message to politicians: don't mess with marriage. Use this hyperlink to make a generous donation of $35, $50, or even $100 today.

There you go messing with Texas again!
These gay marriage activists know the marriage battle will be won or lost in state legislatures. And because they know that state legislatures are our farm team for the next generation of passionate pro-family leaders that's who the gay donors are targeting. "[I]t's often just a handful of people, two or three, who introduce the most outrageous legislation and force the rest of their colleagues to vote on it," says Gill. "If you could reach these few people or neutralize them by flipping the chamber to leaders who would block bad legislation, you'd have a dramatic effect." Their goal? "[P]unish the wicked," as Gill puts it. Or, "snuff out rising politicians who were building their careers on antigay policies, before they . . . achieve national influence." Their chief cautionary example of such a villain is . . . --Yes, there I am again!-- "Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania." Let's be clear here: by "punish the wicked" Gill means people like you and me who adhere to God's vision of what marriage is and what it is for. By "outrageous legislation" he means laws that protect marriage as the union of husband and wife, and incidentally also protect faith groups from persecution by the government for our views of marriage. In the last election cycle Gill pumped $15 million into defeating the good guys. According to the Atlantic Monthly he succeeded seventy percent of the time. "In 2000, he gave $300,000 in political donations, which grew to $800,000 in 2002, $5 million in 2004, and a staggering $15 million last year, almost all of it to state and local campaigns." Danny Carroll, for example, used to be speaker pro tem of the Iowa House, a rising pro-family star who had guided a state marriage amendment to passage in the Iowa House (the first step to putting it on the ballot). Then he was targeted by rich gay activists for his leadership on marriage. Carroll never even knew why he lost, until the Atlantic Monthly reporter pointed out to him all the $1,000 out of state checks: "I'll be darned," said Carroll. "Denver ... Dallas ... Los Angeles ... Malibu ... there's New York again ... San Francisco! I can't--I just cannot believe this," he said, finally. "Who is this guy again?"

Who is this guy? Can we afford to let Malibu, Beverly Hills, Manhattan, and San Francisco control our country and our children and grandchildren's minds? That's why I need you to support NOM's 2008 State Action Plan immediately.

You're right, friend. The control of our children's minds should be left to the 2005 Kansas Board of Education.
And remember: it doesn't stop with gay marriage. When the gay marriage money comes in and "flips" a state legislature, they flip it on ALL the values issues that concern families like ours; Abortion, religion in the public square, abstinence education--not to mention a whole lot of tax and spending issues too.
I assume you mean "flip" as in "flip in preparation for gay sex?"
In Pennsylvania, Gill money helped the Democrats gain control of the House by only one vote. What happens if we permit this tiny minority to reshape marriage? The next step is to use the new law to suppress the liberties of Christians. Already:
  • A Christian adoption agency--Catholic Charities!--has been shut down by the government because it will not do adoptions for gay married couples.
  • A volunteer fireman, who risked his life to rescue friends and neighbors in need, was told his services were no longer wanted--because he signed a petition supporting marriage as the union of husband and wife.
  • A father was arrested for trying to prevent a public school from teaching his son that gay marriage is normal.
  • In New Jersey, a Methodist organization just lost part of its state tax exemption because it refused to permit civil union ceremonies on church-owned property.
How can this happen in the United States of America? One thing I've learned to trust after 15 years on the front lines: When things look the darkest, God raises up new reasons to hope.
Hey how's life in the Senate, friend? Oh what? You're not in the Senate anymore? God would rather use you to send emails with hyperlinks in them? God is so cool.
For those of us who are Christians, despair is a vice, and for us hope is not only a natural emotion, it's a theological virtue. We are each called to "faith, hope and love." It is the fuel for our battles with the forces of hate who seek (in the name of tolerance!) to silence God's own truth.
Wow! So you're voting for Barack Obama?!
And so with great hope and excitement, I learned about the launch of The National Organization for Marriage's 2008 State Action Plan. Will you give a generous donation today to help ensure the plan succeeds?
Hey, why didn't you refer to it as a hyperlink this time? I'm beginning to doubt your Internet savvy friend.
This is the start of something really big and new--and not only on the marriage issue. It's a whole new model for getting politicians to do the right thing on traditional values. I know politicians--believe me!--and nothing gets their attention like the possibility of a competent, well-funded campaign to let voters know how they really vote! Listen to Maggie Gallagher, NOM's new president, talk about the real disconnect between the polls--which show 60 percent of Americans oppose gay marriage--and the politicians: "Politicians think they can get away with ignoring what voters think on marriage. Unless that changes, gay marriage activists are going to push blue state legislators to pass gay marriage, whether the people in their state want it or not." So she and some other folks have pulled together a brilliant team to head up NOM's 2008 State Action Plan to take on the coming marriage and religious liberty battles in the states where it will be fought. Think about the success of the gay marriage movement: If 2 percent of the population funded by a handful of rich men can work a revolution in culture, what could 60 percent of the population--or the most committed quarter--do with the right tools and strategy? We can take Gill's strategy and flip it against him: use it to protect marriage by creating the real possibility of political risk--that politicians SHOULD feel when they vote against their own constituents' voices and values. The National Organization's mission is to "protect marriage and the faith communities that sustain it." The team they've brought together to accomplish this mission is extraordinary. Princeton Professor Robert George, Chairman of the Board, is a national treasure, a consistent and powerful intellectual defender of life, marriage and the natural law. Maggie Gallagher, NOM's president, is one of the most powerful, consistent voices for marriage in the country. I got to know Maggie well during the battles over the Federal Marriage Amendment; Maggie helped me equip senators to speak on marriage. You may know her from her syndicated column that appears in the New York Post and many Pennsylvania papers as well. Brian Brown, the dynamic young executive director (the father of five kids under the age of eight!) spent five years reviving and running the successful Family Institute of Connecticut, so he knows what it is like to fight for marriage deep in blue-state territory. But don't take my word for it alone: Dr. James Dobson personally donated $25,000 to the National Organization for Marriage. Why?, "It's not just marriage that is at stake, it's absolutely everything," Dr. Dobson said on a recent Focus on the Family broadcast in which he invited Maggie Gallagher and Prof. George to speak about the National Organization for Marriage. On the October 10 Focus on the Family radio broadcast, Dr. James C. Dobson urged pro-family Americans to do something about it. "This has been an ongoing struggle that burns in our hearts," Dr. Dobson says. "And now, marriage is really on the brink, and I don't know how to emphasize that more." Let's get the good fight going! Gay marriage activists have to depend on a handful of very wealthy men, because they cannot count on the broad support of the American people. They know politicians who listen to your views and values will vote for marriage as the union of husband and wife. Together, with God's help, there is no limit on what we can accomplish.
Except for a second Senate term right?

But we cannot do the work without the tools. Your generous gift today will help make sure we have the resources to get the word out. Use this hyperlink for a generous donation of $35, $50, $100 or even more.

MUCH better, friend. You should use the word "hyperlink" as much as possible when writing on the Internet

We need your help to put NOM's 2008 State Action Plan to work for your values, including:

  • To launch a billboard campaign targeting state legislators who promised to vote for marriage and then broke their word. (For an example, click here.)
  • To develop radio and TV ads and launch a sophisticated new media campaign to let the American people know the real consequences of gay marriage.
  • To create a national grassroots email database of voters (segmented by state) who care about marriage and its related religious liberty issues, for state as well as national campaigns.
  • To provide protection--legal, moral and media--to individuals targeted by the gay lobby for their courageous stands for marriage.
Our goal? Passionate, pro-family advocacy--with real muscle to back it up so the politicians can ignore our values no longer. But there is one big problem. The gay millionaires are writing big checks. But most Republican donors are afraid to take on this issue, afraid their businesses and their pocketbooks will suffer if they take on the gay lobby. All this, at a time when citizens and legislators in California, Florida, Rhode Island and other linchpin states are facing their most important opportunity to defend marriage, right now! So we are going to have to do it without the millionaires. It's just us this time, fighting against the latest legislation from the bench in California and other acute challenges to marriage in America.

We urgently need your gift for NOM's 2008 State Action Plan: $5 or $10 a month (think: one less Big Mac a month!) would make a huge difference. But we need your donation right now, whatever you can give. A one-time donation of $35, $50, $100, or even $1000, if God has given you the gifts to afford it, would go far to giving us the ability to fight for marriage, state by state, battle by battle.

And don't forget: we need your prayers, too. To thank you, I'd like to give you a gift in return: Everyone who pledges a monthly gift to NOM's 2008 State Action Plan, no matter how large or small, will get a free CD of the Focus on the Family October 10 broadcast on gay marriage and what it will mean for churches and other Christian organizations throughout this country. One-time donations of $100 or more, or monthly donations of $10 a month, will receive a free copy of my book, It Takes a Family. Won't you help right now? God bless you, Rick Santorum P.S. Send your monthly gift for $5 dollars or one-time gift of $35 today--for the cost of just one less Big Mac a month, you can help save marriage and prevent persecution of people of faith!

Contributions or gifts to the National Organization for Marriage, a 501(c)(4) organization with QNC status, are not tax-deductible. The National Organization for Marriage does not accept contributions from business corporations, labor unions, foreign nationals, or federal contractors; however, it may accept contributions from federally registered political action committees. Donations may be used for political purposes such as supporting or opposing candidates. No funds will be earmarked or reserved for any political purpose. The first $5.00 of your annual gift keeps your membership status active for an additional year.

Wait, I was on board with all this denying of marriage to the gays, but ARE YOU SERIOUSLY ASKING ME TO SACRIFICE A BIG MAC?? EVERY MONTH? I'm sorry friend, as you must understand, some things are too sacred to mess with.

My ooVoo Day Political Video Show - Saturday 3pm ET

Tomorrow from 3-4pm ET I'll be hosting a video discussion as part of My Ooovoo Day Political Edition. Oovoo has some funky video chatting service and has reached out to many political bloggers to host conversations with the service. For tomorrow we've got some cool folks scheduled to appear including Cheryl Contee (aka Jill Tubman of Jack & Jill Politics), social media maven Michelle Wolverton (aka chelpixie on Twitter), media/tech strategist Shireen Mitchell (aka digitalsista on Twitter) and the infamous Liza Sabater (aka blogdiva on Twitter). Plus more! Basically it's me and my twitter friends cuttin it up. I just happen to have really impressive and smart friends. The show will be recorded, and I can post the video later. I don't know of a way to stream it live to those not actually in the chat.

OneWebDay Is Coming Sept. 22nd or Why I Love The Internet

cross-posted to Jack & Jill Politics I am an ambassador for OneWebDay, an annual effort to:
focus attention on a key internet value (this year, online participation in democracy) focus attention on local internet concerns (connectivity, censorship, individual skills) create a global constituency that cares about protecting and defending the internet
I got online in 1994 because a parent at my high school worked for UUNet and donated a connection to our school. We had one computer in the corner of the lab with access, not to the "web" (cause that didn't quite exist), but to the "Internet." There were no graphics, just amber text on a black background. The browser, as it was, was a piece of software called Lynx. You launched it by typing the word "lynx" at the prompt and pressing "carriage return." Remember carriage return yall? That's from typewriter days! Today, we're using the Internet as a platform for every human endeavor, but the political is where my passion lies. I take a wide interpretation of politics. Elections are politics. Justice is politics. Media is politics. We have within our reach the ability to upend the traditional flow of power, and this gets me excited. We've seen it in just providing access to information. Projects like the Sunlight Foundation's Congresspedia or USASpending.gov give regular citizens access to information traditionally reserved for the small group of folks who use that information advantage to maintain their power advantage. We've seen it in collective research projects like the Clinton Attacks Obama Wiki or collective action projects like Senator Obama - Please Vote NO On Telecom Immunity (a group set up on Obama's own empowering website). Leutisha Stills, a fellow blogger at Jack and Jill Politics, and I had a great talk recently about her work on the Congressional Black Caucus report card and CBC Monitor. Not only do we have an increasing number of citizens learning what their representatives are up to and how they're voting, but this information can then be used to hold that leadership accountable. Leutisha showed me multiple cases of low-performing CBC members whose grades encouraged primary challengers which in turn forced a change in behavior on the part of the rep. We're lookin at you Ed Towns (big up Kevin Powell). Stay tuned for the next report card due out in September! I want to thank Susan Crawford and everyone at OneWebDay for running this great program and inviting me to be a part of it. Now I open it up to you. Generally, what do you value most about the Internet? Specifically, how has it affected your participation in democracy?

I'm Speaking At The Media Reform Conference In MPLS This Weekend

Update: Here's an excerpt of my comments from the panel here on YouTube I will be speaking in Minneapolis at the National Conference for Media Reform. I'm on a panel Saturday at 11:30...
Speakers: Baratunde Thurston, Cenk Uygur, Duncan Black, Gina Cooper, Robin Marty Date: Saturday, June 7th Time: 11:30am to 1:00pm Room: Auditorium 2 Track: Journalism and Independent Media Session Type: panel The rapidly growing progressive political blogosphere — a.k.a. “the Netroots” — is transforming politics and challenging the traditional media. The Netroots impact on the national political conversation is undeniable. But now that they’ve “crashed the gates,” what comes next? How are the Netroots connecting with the grassroots and organizing for lasting change? How is the landscape changing as new voices emerge, blogs go local, and corporate media tries to capitalize on what’s happening online?
I'll also be co-hosting the Saturday night keynote with Lizz Winstead (creator of the Daily Show).
Speakers: Arianna Huffington, Baratunde Thurston, Byron Dorgan, D.J. Nikoles, Dan Rather, Grace Lee Boggs, Lizz Winstead, Maria Isa, Michael Copps, Naomi Klein, Romal J. Tune, Shá Cage, Silvia Rivera, Tim Wu Date: Saturday, June 7th Time: 8:00pm to 10:00pm Room: Auditorium Track: Keynotes and Plenaries Session Type: plenary A fast-paced, multimedia night of inspiring speeches and music, dance and spoken-word performances. Emcees Lizz Winstead, co-creator of The Daily Show, and Baratunde Thurston of Laughing Liberally will crack us up, and the DJ will keep us moving. Plus we’ll hear from conference-goers and unveil the 2008 inductees into the “Big Media Hall of Shame.”
Drop me an email, tweet, facebook msg, or comment so we can try to meet up. I'll be posting updates to my twitter account if you want to catch snippets there.

Apparently Dick Cheney Has Finally Said Something Offensive

cross-posted to jack and jill politics From ThinkProgress, WaPo and West Virginia Blue After Democratic and Republican politicians strongly criticized Cheney, his PR person finally issued an apology for his "inappropriate attempt at humor." In a speech at the National Press Club, here's what happened...
Cheney was responding to his distant relationship to U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, a Democratic presidential candidate. "We'd always known about the Cheney family line on my father's side of the family, back to Massachusetts in the 1630s. My grandmother was named Tyler, but it turned out she was descended from a Richard Cheney ... who landed in Maryland in the 1650s," Cheney said. He then added, "So I had Cheneys on both sides of the family, and we don't even live in West Virginia." After the audience laughed, Cheney added, "You can say those things when you're not running for re-election."
Ha ha ha ha ha. Oh please. Please stop. I'm dying over here. I'm laughing. So hard. First of all, that's a hack joke. West Virginia and incest? He might as well have talked about how women always go to the bathroom together in the club or how the best way to ensure a limitless budget in an endless war on terror is to illegally invade a Muslim country and murder hundreds of thousands of people. Second, this is what gets both Republicans and Democrats to criticize this monstrosity of a vice president? Not when he declared his office outside of the executive branch? Not when he told a Democratic senator to go fuck himself? Not when he declared warrantless wiretapping acceptable because laws don't apply to this administration? Not when he shot a man in the face and withheld the information, refusing to speak of it himself for days? Not when he responded to the fact that two-thirds of the American people think the war in Iraq wasn't worth fighting with "so?" It is far too late for people to act offended at the statements and behavior of the Dark Lord Cheney, and it's far too much to ask for the media to grill Cheney about this "gaffe" as much as Obama was hounded over his "clinging" to guns and religion comment. After all, Cheney is just one freak bicycle accident away from the presidency. Please.

Milkshakes Are Harder To Come By: Why Oil Costs Over $120 Per Barrel

cross-posted to DailyKos and jack and jill politics

For just over a year, I've been digging deeper and deeper into the world's energy situation and have oscillated between certainty that 90 percent of us are going to die and cautious optimism about an opportunity to improve the structure of our society.

Among the big "issues" in this political season (to the extent that we even remember those), energy, climate and food are at the top of my list.

With oil prices having grown by a factor of six since 2000 and showing no sign of let up, I will increasingly post about what's going on in an attempt to share what I've learned and direct our frustration accurately and productively.

My daily must-visit site is The Oil Drum, and yesterday, they posted the single most important article explaining what's up with oil prices. The entire post is worth reading and has real perty charts and some technical detail.

I'm summarizing it below for those with less time.

1. New production is not able to offset growth in oil consumption, production declines from existing fields and the ability of oil-producing countries to tap into spare capacity

From The Oil Drum:

The Oil Drum: production and pricing
Every year a large number of new oil fields are brought on line. However, this does not directly translate to growth in supplies since amongst other things the production decline in existing fields needs to be replaced first: new annual production capacity = consumption growth + annual decline + spare capacity growth

The above leads to a supply vs. demand situation in which supply cannot keep up. Demand globally is growing. Many existing oil fields are past their peak production, meaning they produce less and less as it becomes more difficult to get the oil out. Finally, contrary to popular opinion, OPEC isn't simply holding out on us. They cannot turn the spigot on any higher, cause they're running at max output.

Basically, more people want milkshakes and it's harder to suck that milkshake out of the cup (h/t There Will Be Blood).

2. The new resources we're getting from natural gas, ethanol, tar sands, etc have lower energy content than the sweet sweet crude oil we're used to. One barrel of ethanol has the energy content of only 0.61 barrels of crude oil

As the easy oil has been sucked out of the ground, we've found it more economically viable to squeeze liquid fuels from other sources like biofuels and the tar sands of Canada.

Wired ran a great piece within the past few years comparing the prices necessary to generate an economic return on these unconventional sources. It basically said, "when oil reaches $x per barrel, it makes economic sense to squeeze tasty oil out of canada's rocks or squirrel farts or whatever."

What these economic return arguments miss is the energy return on energy invested (EROI). At some point, you're spending a barrel of energy to get a barrel of energy, and you're looking kinda stupid. No milkshake for you.

When you hear folks get all excited about tar sands and polar this and that, just remember how much energy it takes to get oil out of a deeper well or squeeze oil out of a rock (about the same amount of energy it takes to get an informed idea into a cable news broadcast).

3. Even if oil producing nations aren't yet producing less, they are exporting less.

As oil producing countries develop and pursue that American dream of leaving no car left behind, they use up more of their own oil. When everybody starts moving to the city and industrializing, mad oil is needed for building, road construction, plastic bottles and other benefits of modern living.

Governments in these countries often heavily subsidize the price of oil to keep their people happy. We've done an indirect version of this in America by having the government pay for roads, licensing systems and other necessary infrastructure for the car. However, countries like Russia actually subsidize the price directly at the pump, driving domestic demand even higher.

Less oil in the export market drives up the price for those of us dependent on importing oil's tasty goodness. We really really want that milkshake and are willing to do lots to get it. I'm not saying we'd generate trumped up reasons to invade a nation with big oil reserves. I'm just saying milkshakes and freedom are very very important and sometimes worth fighting for.

The rest of The Oil Drum's article explains why other explanations you've heard for oil's high price -- speculators, political instability, currency -- are not nearly as powerful a force as the basic supply and demand invisible hand currently backhanding us toward ever higher prices.

It closes:

We are now in the early stages of a full blown energy crisis that was predictable if not wholly avoidable. Politicians are awaking to the crisis now that escalating energy costs make its existence plain to see. It is highly unlikely that politicians will now grasp the gravity of the situation that the OECD and rest of the world faces and the responses will likely be ineffectual and too little too late. The principal reason for current high oil price is the proximity of a peak in global oil production. Politicians must understand this and then grasp that natural gas and coal supplies will follow oil down by mid century. Reducing taxes on energy consumption right now is the wrong thing to do. Taxation structure needs to be adjusted to oblige energy producing companies to re-invest wind fall profits in alternative energy sources on a truly massive scale. Energy efficiency should be the guiding beacon of all policy decisions and this must apply equally to energy production and energy consumption.

I will keep blogging about energy, the problems we face and the opportunities before us. I'm working on a site to aggregate some of my favorite sources. In the meantime, check out this primer on peak oil, and become a regular visitor over at The Oil Drum.

We're going to see increasingly hysterical coverage of energy over the next year, and I want to make sure folks have a source for informed coverage and analysis.

Need Drinking Liberally Chapters in HI, ND, OK By May 29th

cross-posted to Daily Kos This Thursday, Drinking Liberally turns five years old, and I'd like your help in celebrating. We have 247 chapters across 47 states, and need just a few more to cover the country. It's a 50-state strategy in line with what many of us in the netroots fight for at the local level: active, informed citizenship. As a part of Living Liberally, Drinking Liberally seeks to engage citizens in their democracy through social interaction. Not everyone can or wants to liveblog the FISA hearings or get into the intricacies of healthcare mandates. However, through local, on-the-ground infrastructure, the Living Liberally fam is helping reinvigorate progressive commmunities across this country, not just on the coasts, not just in swing states, but everywhere. Check out this map:

Drinking Liberally Map

I used to co-host the Cambridge chapter, and have seen how the DL infrastructure works. We were able to get Jerome and Markos in for a book reading where some couldn't even make it inside. Glenn Greenwald toured How Would A Patriot Act by tapping the DL network and reaching folks outside the major book chain system. Our mailing lists are massive and growing and local. Drinking Liberally is about more than social events among progressives. It's a platform for progressive politics embedded in towns across America. We're aiming to reach chapters in all 50 states by our anniversary day. So much so that, if we do indeed reach 50 states by May 29th, then everyone at our 5th anniversary celebration bash in NYC gets a free beer. The round's on the house. Paid for. If you are a progressive, or know any progressives, in HI, ND, or OK please please PLEASE contact us at info@livingliberally.org with any leads. Pump up this post, and share it with bloggers in those states. Take this opportunity to find your own Drinking Liberally chapter and meet your neighbors and continue the work of reinvigorating this nation. Finally, a message from Howard Dean, architect of another 50-state strategy