Lawyer Kills Child Molester
Apparently a young lawyer, having heard from his wife that the next door neighbor, a long-time nut, had molested their two year old daughter, climbed through the molester's window and stabbed him to death.Surprised? I'm shocked it doesn't happen more often, to a greater or lesser degree.One of the hallmarks of this country's legal system is that, aside from a few aberrations here and there, and Charles Bronson movies, few crime victims take the law into their own hands.I don't know why that is, but it is a good thing for our society. Hatfield and McCoy type feuds lead to the type of violence cycles that plague areas like the Middle East.Still, I often wonder why we don't have more crazed parents offing deviants. Or why Monica's father didn't pop Clinton in the nose.In any event, any way you look at this, it is a sad and horrible story.
I'm not one of those who ascribe to the notion that the current Iraq War, (nor the first Gulf War) is a "blood for oil" battle. I don't believe that there is some master plan concocted by them in the oil bidness to sacrifice our brave young men and women on the altar of profits.I'm also not sold that man is creating global warming.That said, it is undeniable that the Middle East occupies an inordinate amount of our national attention because we are so dependent on their oil. And with the economies of China and India emerging so quickly, oil will become even more scarce.Because oil is so essential to our economy, we will have to defend places like Kuwait, and we will have to alter our strategies in dealing with countries like Saudi Arabia. We can't simply bomb Iran to wipe out their nuclear capabilities, mostly because of the repercussions it would have on our economy.And for those of my liberal friends who think the affect on an economy is a crass thing to think about, please remember that "economy" is shorthand for things like jobs... healthcare... food... housing... culture. It's been said that civilization is about 6 meals deep. Think Sarajevo.No oil means a collapsed economy. A collapsed economy means dead Americans. Lot's of 'em.We currently use approximately 20 million barrels of oil per day in the United States, of which we import approximately 13 million barrels. We use 8 million barrels a day to fuel our cars and trucks.At the risk of sounding Al Gorish, our oil dependency truly is a national security issue. We've spent almost $400 billion in Iraq; how many other billions have been spent on security issues to fight terrorism?So, if I were King, or even somebody people listened to, I'd implement the following measures immediately:1) I'd ban non-hybrid vehicles from sale here in the United States. We have the technology to immediately reduce auto gasoline consumption by around half-- in a few years, as cars turn over, we could easily save 4 million barrels a day-- or about 30% of our imports;2) I'd tax new passenger vehicles by the pound. Want a two-ton behemoth to run to the PTA meeting in? Fine. But we're going to tax the hidden societal cost of wasting resources like that. Say $5 per pound over 2,000; $10 per pound over 3,000. So driving that 6400 pound Hummer, in addition to making you look like an ass, will cost you an extra $39,000. After all, how much is a Marine's life worth?I'd tax the vehicle, rather than the gasoline, because we can't avoid driving-- it's built into our economy and our culture. We can make more rational choices on the type of vehicle we own.And every penny raised would go to research, upgrading the energy efficiencies of public buildings and tax credits for solar panels, etc..3) If a building has a flat roof, I'd stick solar panels on it. Tax breaks, mandates for new buildings--whatever it would take. Most office buildings and stores use most of their electricity during the day-- solar panels would markedly reduce their usage during peak times. How much energy would that save? If The Solar Center and other sites are accurate, a flat-roofed commercial building will obtain nearly all of its energy from modern panels--and will pay for itself in 5 years.Residential takes longer (18 years for Long Island). But who cares? The point is we have the technology to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.4) Light bulbs. We just swapped out our incandescent bulbs for swirly-fluorescent ones. They last 6-8 times as long as a regular bulb and use a fraction of the energy. Walmart recently changed the bulbs in their ceiling fan displays-- at the savings of $6 million dollars a year! Walmart is instituting a nation-wide push to sell these bulbs starting in the Fall.GE and others who make these bulbs haven't pushed them. Why should they? They lose the sale of 6 to 8 regular bulbs for each one of these that they sell. But Walmart is on a mission (so they say). So GE has said they'll help meet the anticipated demand--and prices are already dropping.I'm sure there are other products like these bulbs out there-- we need to look for them and highlight them.That's how we're going to fight oil dependency and global warming. Not by banning cars-- but by having people use cars that look indistinguishable from "regular" cars, but which use much less energy.By making everyday products more energy efficient. By incrementally making changes that count.The thing is, we need to do a bunch of those incremental changes simultaneously-- and unfortunately none of the leaders in either party, nor our media, has shown an ability to focus on more than one thing at a time, nor for very long.We need a leader on this issue, and he or she has to come from the right. Any of the ideas that I've listed will be dead on arrival if they come from a liberal. Only a conservative can stress the national importance of these steps without sounding like another looney radical environmentalist.These are changes that a people at war should be asked to make-- the Iraqi War/War on Terrorism may be the first war in history where, other than the throwing out of some shampoo and the removal of shoes at the airport, a populace has been asked for no sacrifice.We can give ourselves more options, preserve resources, help the environment and save lives. We have the technology. We have the funds.We just need leadership.I hope someone steps forward soon.