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Seattle News Bites!
May 21, 2001

We decided to take a little break, but now we're back and ready to go!

In today's edition, we thought we would provide you with a nice combination of some quick stories you didn't about on your local broadcasts, plus some commentary on 2 major issues: the Energy crisis and the violence in the Middle East.

Here's what your local news didn't cover by 11:30 AM:

And now on to our commentary!

  • Issue 1: the US Energy Crisis
  • We've certainly heard about this on the news in lots and lots of detail: rolling blackouts throughout California, and the threat of it here in the Northwest, and the rest of the country as well!

    But why is it happening? and what can be done about it?

    It's different that what happened in the 1970's where we experienced long gas lines, and odd and even days at the pump. Why was it different then? Because there was a lack of supply!

    But here, there is plenty of oil available and OPEC is not withholding it; so what's the problem? The main problem is demand! We're using more and more and more, which is putting a strain on domestic power plants, which were just not designed to handle these needs.

    And an interesting thing: homes were more energy efficient in the 1980's than in the 1990's! Why? Because times in the 1990's were good--the Clinton years were good economically and homes were being built bigger and with more electronics than those in the 1980's when economic times were not as good.

    Now California got themselves into major trouble by fully deregulating. They did not set caps anywhere, which meant that the power companies, Pacific Gas and Electric and Southern Edison, were able to charge whatever they wanted for their power!

    But is deregulation really to blame? Partly! You see, Pennsylvania also deregulated, but they put a cap on the amount power companies can pass along to consumers. As a result, Pennsylvania's energy prices are much lower and deregulation worked.

    You see, if you deregulate, you can't allow companies to charge whatever they want!! You have to set limits!

    So, what can we do to get out of this situation? Well, the Bush Administration's plan calls for a combination of conservation by both businesses and consumers, and a call for more energy expansion: building more plants, expanded nuclear, wind, and solar, and reducing the emission standards for coal.

    Problem is: these are long-term solutions, and what we need is short-term relief and a long-term strategy!

    No question about it! We need to change our ways because no form of energy will last forever! We need to get rid of those gas-guzzling SUV's! And you can't blame the automakers because YOU had a choice of buying them or not! And you knew what the gas milage was, and still bought them, so the blame lies squarely on YOU, the public!

    We propose a national energy policy as a long-term solution! Let the Federal Government buy power for the entire nation, both from OPEC and domestic producers, then resell it to the public at cost! This way, prices can be maintained on a nationwide scale, energy companies can sell their power to 1 huge customer, and the Federal Government would be able to negotiate a single national rate!

    Both long and short-term, we still need to begin reducing our need for OPEC, and that should definitely include conservation and the development of alternative methods: wind and solar. But those are not practical right now because they don't account for much of our power. Increased nuclear should occur, but corners and costs must not be cut!! Remember Three Mile Island and Chernyobol! Coal is just too dangerous!--especially since it contributes to global warming and should not expanded!

    For the short-term, we propose that the Federal Government cap prices! Right now, we need to control rising prices and setting a maximum limit on what power companies can charge would do that! Now, of course, they won't like it, but it's what needs to be done!

    Bottom-line: These are hard times and sarifices have to be made! We'll get through it, but we need price caps now, and a national policy for the long-haul. Do this and we believe we'll be in good shape!

  • Issue 2: Violence in the Middle East
  • Of course, our local media doesn't pay much attention to something like this! We give it some coverage, but nowhere the amount it deserves! Instead, we're still talking about Boeing's leaving--get over it! and other small local stories!

    But this is a major major one! and one which may ultimately lead to war between the Israelies and the Palestinians!

    Now, you hear calls for Israel to back-off, stop the building of new settlements, and reduce the level of violence being used. But why?

    Let's remember what started this most recent round of violence: Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister, showed his face in a disputed section of Israel!

    Now is merely showing your face a reason for violence? We don't think so! Was it the wisest thing for him to do? We don't think so, especially given that the peace at that time was very fragile!

    But the point is, that it was the Palestinians who started this latest round of violence! and they should be the ones to back-off!

    After all, Israel has shown that they can negotiate and have even given back land--the Sinai to the Egyptians, and parts of the West Bank and Gaza! Has the US ever given back land? No! So why should Israel?

    And let's consider what have the Palestinians given-up? Nothing!!, other than the notion that they won't destroy Israel!--Big deal! They couldn't accomplish this anyway, and talk is cheap!

    Israel has merely been responding to the increasing attacks from Palestinians!, and has every right to do so!

    How do you fight terrorists? By using the same methods they do! The Palestinians took it too far!--by attacking Israel proper--meaning outside the West Bank and Gaza! That crossed the line!

    Now, we're not saying all Palestinians are terrorists, because that's totally untrue!

    In fact, most ordinary Palestinians are hard-working and decent people, just like most ordinary Israelies. However, the terrorists spoil it for all!

    And just like in Vietnam, where US soldiers had an extremely difficult time distinguishing between friend and foe, the same holds true for Palestinian terrorists.

    So how do you fight something like this? By treating everyone as a foe!

    Can both sides live in peace? Well, Clinton had them pretty close to a lasting one! But the moment Sharon showed his face, the Palestinians reacted with violence!

    All we're saying is let's not forget who started this round of violence, it was the Palestinians! and not the Israelies.

    And with regards to those making reference to the 1967 war: we say just remember who started it? The Palestinians! and who won: the Israelies!

    Want a solution: Let the Palestinians give-up their claim to Jeruselim, end the violence, and demonstrate that they can live in peace with Israel for 6 months! If they can do that, then it shows they're serious about a long-term peace!

    But one thing remains perfectly clear, the Israelies and Palestinians need outside negotiators bringing them together--and that's where Clinton came in! and in fact, took a very active role!

    Did he tell them what to do? Nobody can dictate what they should or should not do, but Clinton brought a level head to two sides (Israel and Palestinian) thinking with 50 years of hatred and violence towards each other.

    The Bush Administration thinks that merely telling them to negotiate and stop fighting is good enough--wise up! You need to get directly involved, or there will be a war! And with war, there are no winners, just casualities!