April 18, 2006
Have you noticed the price of gasoline has been creeping up again? Well, I sure have. I figure if it settles down for a prolonged period at $3 or so a gallon, it just might be enough to induce American consumers to alter their buying habits. Or maybe not. Given our nation's "addiction" to oil, as President Bush said, it might take $4 a gallon gas to get many of us to rethink and mend our gluttonous ways before it's too late. In Friday's Washington Post, cartoonist Tom Toles lampooned the irony of "super-sized" Americans being so clueless that their sense of entitlement to an energy-intensive way of life makes this country more vulnerable to the threat of terrorist blackmail. Like his predecessor the late, great Herb Block, Toles is superb at his craft and usually makes a good point in a witty way, even if he tends to follow the liberal conventional wisdom in Washington. Click on that thumbnail image to see the cartoon.
Politics makes strange bedfellows department: MoveOn.org is up in arms about Yahoo's proposed levy on mass e-mailers, on the grounds that it would unfairly inhibit communications by nonprofit organizations. Some people are calling an "Internet tax," but since the money would not be collected by the government, that would be a misnomer. Does this mean that MoveOn.org is joining forces with anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist? It seems pretty obvious to me that one way to discourage the avalanche of spam that fills our e-mail in boxes every day* would be to tax each outgoing e-mail message, say one penny each. That would add up in a hurry, and could be used to fund Internet access programs in the Third World.
*Speaking of which, I'll probably make my e-mail spam filter more restrictive in the near future. To make sure your e-mail gets through to me, and to get me to pay more urgent attention to it, I suggest putting a meaningful phrase in the Subject line.