Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Getting Out There And Doing Something About The Things That You Care About

As readers of this space are aware, I have been pretty pissed about the sorry state of affairs under this administration. While ranting about things, donating money is good, probably nothing beats getting out there and doing something about it.

An opportunity for this presented itself today as the organization had a rally for an oil free congress day. The high oil prices, massive profits that these companies have been making, their insidious influence with their $ in Congress (75% of their donations go to the republicans) and the tax breaks they have been given have all helped keep our oil dependency alive. This was a nationwide rally with events held near gas stations to raise awareness amongst consumers about the GOP addiction to oil money and to help move us on the path towards clean sustainable energy.

I found an event near Wilmington and signed up. And what a great day we had. Thanks to the lovely Amy Brown for organizing the event and all the other volunteers for making it a success. I got a chance to meet some lovely folks who care about this issue and were passionate enough to come out for this cause on a warm afternoon. There were about 14 of us eventually. I am sorry I cannot remember all of their names and I would rather name them all instead of leaving any one out, so my apologies. I promise to do better next time. They also put in a lot of effort in printing out the posters and flyers for which I have to commend them.

We stood out with the posters holding them up, waving to the passing motorists. When possible we engaged them in a brief conversation about the issue, handing them flyers. It was heartwarming to hear some of them support us. They waved back at us, smiled encouragements, flashed thumbs up signs or honked to show support. A few did not want to be engaged. Some were on their phones and could not care less. No one was hostile at all. I will mention two brief conversations.

Me: Hello M'am would you like a flyer?
Lady: No. You know I am a republican.
Me: But I am sure you would like cheaper gas/oil prices, and we need to make sure that our Congress does not take oil money. You know that 75% (142 million) has gone to the GOP.
Lady: I don't believe that. Where are you getting your numbers from.
Me: The numbers are from a public source. You know that any citizen can find out who is contributing how much to each party.
Lady: I don't believe it.
Me: Ok keep loving Mr.Bush. :-)
Here is the source. Clearly I had encountered a true believer and facts did not matter to her.

Guy in truck-
Me: Sir would you like to call upon Congress to give up our oil addiction?
Guy: Gas prices are not that high here. In Europe they are a lot higher.
Me: Well you do know that a lot of that are taxes which gives them health care and helps with their retirement. (The look on his face said it all, he had no clue, but they don't give up).
Guy: Well this is America we do things differently.
Truck starts to pull away as the light had changed.
Me: Enjoy your day.
Sounded like Mr. Clueless to me.

We also had a local radio station (WDEL I think) cover the event. If I find a link to it, I will put it up. That was fun and I am looking forward to the next event. It was nice to go out and hopefully we made a bit of a difference. This is just a snapshot but let me just say, there is a lot of unhappiness with this bunch. I think it will be reflected in November.

Pictures from the event below and all of them are on this Flickr link.

Before The Start Of The Rally

Yours Truly


Eli said...

Woohoo! You go, jay!

Ameet said...

I recall reading something about an oil-boycott day. No one buys gas that day. Will crush the whole oil supply chain and force the industry to take notice. Would it work?

mikey said...

Kudos to you and those folks who ran and contributed to the campaign. Two out of ten worst corporations in 2005 were BP and ExxonMobil (source from Multinational Monitor, Nov/Dec 2005 issue)!

Republicans, what can I say, are in denial that America is ruled by a bunch of idiots. Sad, but true.

Dadoji said...

KJ: May the force be with you.

karmic_jay said...

@Eli. Thanks.

@Ameet. Probably not. It might make one feel better for the day. In the long run energy idependence is really what we need.

@Mikey. Thanks for stopping by too.

@Dadoji. Yep I need the force :)

Jordan's Dad said...

So should we drill in ANWR? Should we increase our refining capacity? (both ideas that are opposed by most liberals)

How do we become "energy independent"? Its a nice catch phrase - but what does it mean and how do we acheive it?

Perhaps you and your friends should fly to the middle east and boycott the OPEC headquarters. Theyre the ones that contol the oil prices.

Also, Im sure you and your friends have no problem going out to dinner and paying $7 for 4 oz of wine, or $5 for a pint of beer. By comparison, $3 for a gallon of gas dont seem too bad.

BTW, I love! Any org that helped Bush win in 2004 is ok by me!

watertiger said...

You get down with yer bad self, KJ!

Sometimes, just planting the seed of doubt is enough.

Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

go team. go team.

Ignore the troll. Keep encouraging conservation and lower prices. You guys rock.

ql in ny

karmic_jay said...

Standard talking points and troll stuff so this will be the only response you are going to get from me.
Drilling in ANWR does nothing for energy independence, its to make Ted Stevens look good and help out big oil. ANWR does not have enough oil to help in the long run and some natural spaces have to be preserved.
Refining capacity is not the issue. The number of refineries have gone down cos they have consolidated as a whole in the industry. Also refineries need at least 5 billion in investment just to get going. The oil industry is not rushing to do big capital investments, they are just upgrading existing capacity. Not to mention the different blends and sesaonal changes make everything harder. Try blaming this on something else, like big oil not wanting to do huge cap investments when over the next many years there is a chance that we will start running out of crude.

Energy independence, takes a while and many years. It is nto a buzz word. Simple things like using beter light bulbs can helps. Here is what we can do -
wind farms (esp in the midwest and anywhere we can). Been to Denmark? They do it pretty well there is something we can learn from them.

Shift to ethanol (switchgrass preferred in a few years as the tech matures as corn is way too expensive to gro in the first place)

Fuel Cell Technology

Better Hybrids (Toyota says in a few years time they will have better hybrids).
Efficient fast public transportation where we really need it.
Nuclear Power Technology

Raise the CAFE standards. It will cut down oil consumption and every bit helps.
Perhaps you and your friends should fly to the middle east and boycott the OPEC headquarters. Theyre the ones that contol the oil prices

Maybe you should tell your leader that. He was the one who said during the campaign in 2000 he would put pressure on OPEC.
In the 2000 campaign, critical of President Clinton's approach to working with Saudi Arabia and other members of OPEC, candidate Bush said that President Clinton should simply "get on the phone with the OPEC cartel and say, '[w]e expect you to open your spigots,'" [14] promising that as president, he would "use the capital that my administration will earn, with the Kuwaitis or the Saudis, and convince them to open up the spigot." [15]

As for the price of gas, that's your opinion. I was out there and that is not what I heard.Beer and wine are not right comparisons, they don't get pumped out of the ground they don't run autos and dont emit CO2 like cars or cause global warming.
Try using logic instead of talking points. Enjoy your day.

karmic_jay said...

Watertiger/Ql. Thanks for stopping by and the kind words.

Aditi said...

yep echoing all those before me.. a noble cause.. hats off to u for spending a day doing it

karmic_jay said...

Thanks Aditit. It was only an hour, but well spent.

Id it is said...

Great initiative. I wish more of us would do the same. is doing some great things in my part of the world too.

Jordan's Dad said...

Calling me a troll now? Not very nice. I think I deserve more respect than that. But if you only want people who agree with you to comment then say so, and I wont comment anymore.

Anyway - if gas was cheaper, as you appear to wish it was, wouldnt that lead to more consumption? And if people used more gas, wouldnt that increase damage to the environment? If something is too expensive thats when people start to look for and create cheaper alternatives. So you should be happy that gas prices are higher. Unless, of course, you dont care about the environment.

How do we know that ANWR wont produce enough oil?

Energy independence does take a long time, but until then, if you want energy to be cheaper, you have to reduce oil/gas prices by increasing the supply.

Bush increased tax credits for hybrid cars - so we now encourage people to buy hybrid by actually giving them more money. Did you get the tax credit for your car? Did you thank Bush?

Hmmm - wonder why nuclear power hasnt taken off... Can you explain? (I'll give you a hint - it has something to do with liberal/environmentalists) Now liberals want nuclear power. So much for consistency!

Your real beef seems to be with the Oil companies giving money to Republicans who then win elections. I think we'd still win regardless, but have fun with your posters.

Enjoy your day!

Sidd Finch said...

way to go, kj! oh, and someone tell jordan's dad that everyone agrees that energy independence takes a long time. it'll take forever if no one has the balls to do something about it. the standard pro-oil arguments are really insulting to me as an American. are they trying to tell me that if Bush, immediately after 9/11, told the country that a .50 gas tax would take effect and all of the revenue would go toward alternative energy research, we wouldn't be in better shape today? do they have that much contempt for the great minds in this country?

Ameet said...

It's hard to blame OPEC for oil prices when the big American oil giants are raking in over 50% NET profits. If there's so much margin built into the pump price, why can't they absorb some of the fluctuations? What is so sacred about oil profits that they can't be touched?

The fundamental problem is that the whole economic structure of North America is built around cheap oil - from the way we live, the way we travel, the way we eat and the way we shop. Conservation and alternative fuels will take us part of the way, but what we really need is to change the way we live.

A year ago, I made a conscious decision to move out of suburbia and live in the heart of a city. My car sits in the garage most of the time. I walk almost everywhere. I take public transit when it's too far. When I need some 'yard time', I walk down to one of the local parks. My gas consumption is down almost 95%. It's a different way of living. One that may seem unnatural to some of us. Yet, it is worth a thought - specially when you consider the alternatives.

emilie said...

thank you so much for being on the ball with your camera...i want more of an upward angle next time...i look like a kid in that group shot!!!

karmic_jay said...

JD. I have never said people have to agree with me in this space. Everyone is free to comment. However I expect people to atleast come up with logical, coherent arguments.
Like comparing gas prices to those of beer and wine? Most often you just throw out statements that are broad generalizations (liberals should go to the mideast and put pressure on OPEC).I told you what Bush said before, ofcourse you don't respond to that.
You do get a response from me, a troll would just be ignored. Sometimes your responses just feel as if they are menat to flame and logic is not what drives them. Feel free to comment, I may not always have the time to respond.

The real issue is energy independence. We all know that gas will only be so cheap. The high prices have given people a chance to look at the issue more closely.

We know ANWR won't produce enough oil cos that is what the surveys say, and they are not partisan they are science based.

Yes I did get my tax credit and I do think it is a good step. But often his stupidity outweighs things like this. While giving me a small tax break he keeps a bigger tax break for a truck/suv purchased for business use in place. That is just not right. See what I mean?

As for nuclear power environmentalists have been changing their stance on it. They are accepting the fact that the tech has gotten better and safer.
Consistency is no good if you don't change your views based on the facts.

Why should I not have a beef with oil companies giving money? That has led to policies that continue our oil addiction and hurt the planet while attempts to fund alternate energy have come up short.

If you are so confident of winning without oil money call upon your party to stop taking oil money simple right?

Anonymous said...

you know how that saying goes (correct me if i am wrong).. you can lead an ass to water but you cant make him drink!! some people (mainly i think blue collar americans) truly believe in mr.bush like he is god.. and whatever he does is right.. you cant reason with them..

opinionatedinjerzee said...

hey that last comment about the ass was me!! i dont know why it put me down as anonymous!

karmic_jay said...

@Sidd. Thansk for stopping by. The death of common good and sense is what we see today.

@Ameet. Kudos to you for what you are doing. Not all of us can do that. My wife takes the train though she can drive. I drive part of the way too and take the train.
I hope alternative energy helps us keep our way of life while also keeping the environment safe, if not we are in trouble. Also I think cities nd close suburbs will be in as opposed to exurbs. :)

@Emilie, thanks for stopping by. I promise a better angle next time. :)

@Opin you are right. But its a good fight and we have to try.

Mridula said...

Another blogger who went to a similar rally:

Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Loved reading this k_j and to know about this angle in your life. :)

~River~ said...

erm, anonymous here!

MoDigli said...

Hi Jay,

Thanks for stopping by my blog! I loved reading that you had a very similar experience to mine yesterday. And we are quite far apart (I'm in San Diego, CA)! It was great to read that you experienced the honking, thumbs up, and general support that we did here.

I hope we can make a difference with this. I hope that Americans in general can see that it is no longer good to put making money over the environment. I was moved to take some action after watching two movies: An Inconvenient Truth, and Syriana.

After learning what I have, I just feel like I cannot turn a blind eye!

I'll continue to follow your blog. Thanks again for stopping by mine.

:) Mo'

Viewer said...

yeah i agree wit u nothing beats getting out there and doing it urself ...... Way to go sanjay!

karmic_jay said...



@Mo' Thanks for stopping by. Will keep up with your blog too.

dem said...

Nice post, Sanjay. I am impressed by your commitment to act on your convictions and a bit ashamed that I don't act more on mine.

Anonymous said...


A TRUE American.