Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Unvarnished Words

I’ve recently moved from an urban home with high-speed Internet, capable of downloading rich text and graphics in seconds. I enjoyed a vast array of cable programming, including premium channels that featured documentaries and access to PBS stations proud to pay for Bill Moyers’ knowledge, British classics, and Frontline news. MSNBC was available without an upgrade, and NPR was a clear signal from several stations inside my home and car.

Now I dwell in the beauty and peace of Nature where Internet is primitive. I’ve been trying for three days to download an update that Microsoft deems critical for my computer and its security. The connection to the server snaps after hours and hours watching a blue bar try to fill a gray space. I then must begin again. Today, I stalled before going to work at the computer just so I could avoid the molar-grinding consequence of learning that the damn server couldn’t handle the strain.

If I get in my car and drive 35 miles, I might pick up a clear NPR signal, but the programming is light, frothy, certainly not talky. Much of the day brings music to listeners instead of some of my favorites like Snap Judgment, This American Life, Science Fridays on Talk of the Nation, or Garrison Keillor. I must buy a satellite radio and hope for the best.

The only educational channel available through Direct TV’s upgraded, high-definition programming package for my area must not be well-funded and/or run by men and women with limited horizons. I found Independent Lens available after midnight. The search guide does not even recognize the name Moyers, but I can count on seeing Downton Abbey when it returns January 6, 2013. Huzzah.

So I’ve been watching more C-Span than I once did. I’m taking my news direct from the mouths of newsmakers, and I must say, the words of Ebenezer Scrooge come to mind: Bah, humbug!

Yes, Bah, humbug! to you, Senator Inhofe who took a classic, short-sighted view of a bill to underwrite and support green energy initiatives in America’s military efforts. He says we can’t afford to spend money when the current needs are so great. He took a similar position when Rachel Maddow invited Inhofe to engage in a serious discussion about climate change after the publication of his right-wing Climate Denier book, full of disinformation generously provided by right-wing think tanks. During that interview, Inhofe admitted that he was once on the side of climate change until he learned just how much fixing the problems that man creates might cost. (http://thinkprogress. org/climate/2012/03/16/446008/inhofe-maddow-global-warming). Now, Inhofe joins many others in the GOP to vote no because we simply cannot afford to do the right thing for the next generations, for the future health of this earth, for the preservation of our place in the universe, especially if the right thing seems to be endorsed by so-called Progressives, liberals, or green-leaning folks.

Sound noble, wise? Not to me. Senator Inhofe is just a mouthpiece for climate-change nay-sayers, a man of limited wit, but infinite greed. He has proudly gone on record saying that his hand is open for money, money, more money from energy. Indeed, according to SourceWatch, “James M. Inhofe … accepted $311,800 in oil contributions during the 110th congress. $160,800 of those dollars … from industry PACS. In total, Inhofe received $662,506 from oil companies between 2000 and 2008, which makes him a top recipient of oil money. In addition to oil, Inhofe has received $152,800 in coal contributions during the 110th Congress. $94,500 of those dollars were from industry PACS” ( php?title=James_M._Inhofe). Inhofe's hand is still open during the 112th Congress and beyond.

Other nations have invested in high-speed Internet across the entire country. Granted, our country is much, much larger, but if we fail to wire our nation, we can and will fall behind. Other nations have upgraded their infrastructure, includng high-speed rail carrying people to work without the high cost of gasoline and constant road repair. Wind and solar power complement other energy sources and have reduced other nations’ dependency upon finite, expensive resources. Chile was able to rescue workers after a tunnel collapse because of safety measures that the U. S. refuses to require because of the cost of those upgrades, and men with the same convictions as Inhofe have made arguments about this nation’s inability to pay for safety and life itself. At some levels of government, citizens are just numbers, beans for Bean-Counters to tally and weigh against profits, dividends and Wall Street acclaim.

So my advice to you is you could do worse than tune in to C-Span, completely commercial free, by the way. You cannot do worse by heeding the advice of Oklahoma’s James Inhofe. He does not have your best interests at heart. He would trade the quality and quantity of your years on this earth for thirty pieces of silver in his palm.