Maybe it’s the heat, but I smell a conspiracy. A global conspiracy. A global warming conspiracy.
Item 1: Weekly financial bible Barron’s takes a week off from bemoaning the moribund economy and runs a Saturday cover story entitled "The Coming Energy Glut." It details how energy producers' days of scarce juice and soaring profits are likely behind them. Yours truly follows up with a wider, shallower view suggesting that the promises of George W. Bush’s energy plan will, being largely unnecessary, go largely unfulfilled. Both are pieces are by writers based in New York City.
Item 2: Tuesday, either a vengeful God or a vengeful White House brings the heat, scorching the East and Midwest with record temperatures. It is 99 degrees in New York, and will top 102 before the week is out.
You guessed it. Once again, we’ve got an energy crisis.
Local utility Con Edison, on behalf of its customers in New York City, declares an "Electrical Emergency." The Mayor's Office of Emergency Management urges city residents to reduce their electricity use. OEM asks that residents turn off non-essential appliances such as washers, dryers and lights and minimize the use of air conditioners, especially upon leaving home. New York and New Jersey state government offices shut down at 2 p.m. to help conserve energy. More than 7,000 customers in and around Flushing lose power due to Con Ed equipment failures.
In the Time-Life Building, employees receive an email notifying us of Thursday’s "electrical emergency" I never get tired of saying that and that "certain preemptive temporary measures have already been implemented over the past two days which have reduced lobby lighting and have minimally affected elevator and escalator service."
The best part was when I got to ride down to the cafeteria crammed into an elevator with, like, 15 women, all dressed for the Sahara. The worst, though was when I realized that this was all the Republicans’ fault.
Think about it. Heading into the second half of his first year in office, George W. Bush has several problems: The "crisis"-driven impetus for his energy plan is disappearing before his eyes. He’s under fire for declining to combat global warming. And worst of all, those tax rebate checks get your $300 yet? aren't showing much sign of reviving the economy.
Which brings us back to New York, where GOP Gov. (and former Bush veep hopeful) George Pataki wants us all to "work together" to beat the heat with suspiciously economy-stimulating activities. "Go to a movie, go to the mall," Pataki urged (leaving "hit the beach for free" for last). "Just don’t go home and turn on the air conditioner." If you must use an air conditioner, he said, at least buy a Brand New One from your local appliance store the state’ll give you $75 if it’s energy-efficient.
But this is bigger than economic stimulus. Bigger than George Pataki. Bigger than Bush's decision to provide federal funds for only the evil, godless, life-cheapening stem cell research already begun. (Which, by the way, is very promising!)
At its core, this and the Vatican, the Freemasons and Steve Carlton all agree with me on this one is about the future of our planet. Think Bush’s relentless view of a long-term energy crunch and his tolerance of Big Coal as a viably clean energy source are a coincidence? The man’s planning for an America so hot we’ll be running air conditioners during Christmas dinner.
So hot that the ice caps will melt, the seas will rise and drown the coasts not coincidentally, where Al Gore picked up most of his votes.
So hot that Tom Daschle’s home state of South Dakota will feel like Texas in August, and Texas in August will feel like…Well, just ask Bush, who goes to Texas in August to relax, golf, and think about stem cells. (And take the SUV for the occasional spin around the ranch.)
Maybe it’s the heat. But he does seem awfully comfortable in this sort of weather. Coincidence?
I think hot.