The Real Energy Problem

A couple of months ago I spoke to you about the energy bill passed by our Republican-led Congress earlier this year which returns billions of dollars in tax cuts to oil and gas companies. While those companies rake in record-making profits, many Americans are bracing for budget-busting gas and oil bills this winter. You can read more here (link).

The reason I want to talk about this again is that heating costs this winter are projected to be extremely high, but Congress -including my opponent Randy Kuhl - has not acted responsibly to address either the short term or long term issues related to these high energy costs.

Prices for natural gas this winter are projected to hit $1,568, which is 48% more than last year. Homes using heating oil are looking at total costs of around $1,666, which is 32% more that last year.

These dramatic increases in prices for home heating costs amount to an added tax on working families, especially on those already having a tough time meeting their budgets during the holiday season. These extra costs will hit my district, one of the poorest in the nation, particularly hard. But Congress (including my opponent Randy Kuhl, who should be working to protect the people of New York's 29th Congressional District) recently voted against a proposed increase in home heating assistance for the American people. It is disturbing, especially at this time of year, to see our federal government turn its back to those who most need its help.

This failure to provide necessary home heating assistance is just one part of the much bigger picture of irresponsible behavior and a lack of compassion by our Congress for those who needs its help the most. In total, our Republican-led Congress, including Randy Kuhl, has cut $50 billion from programs that provide vital assistance to the poor. (link) Tax cuts by Congress, mostly for the wealthy, total $90 billion. (link. Think of it as Robin Hood in reverse: taking from the poor and helpless to give to the rich.

Back to the topic of the rise in heating costs, it is also very important for us to understand that these increases do not just affect home and family budgets. They affect businesses both small and large.

Small businesses make up 90% of the economy in the U.S. and the 29th district, and they are going to be crunched under the rising costs in heating oil. These record increases impact operating expenses, transportation and delivery costs, among other things. Much of these costs will eventually be passed on to the consumer through higher prices for everything from commodities to consumer credit.

The effects of these rising heating costs cover a broad spectrum of various issues. When businesses have to pay more for heating costs, especially with the significant price increases we are already seeing, it is inevitable that people will be laid off in order to make up the difference. Or prices will have to be raised, which makes it harder for them to compete in global markets.

The bottom line is we need to change our outlook on this vital issue. Oil is the driving source for our economy, and until we can move away from it, we will continue to be dragged down by it. Furthermore, no one knows how close we are to tapping all available sources of oil. This is why it is important for us to move away from our oil dependencies.

President Bush has recently mentioned the affects of rising heating costs on families and small businesses. (link) But, as demonstrated by the priorities set forth in the Energy Bill, his real focus in that section of his speech was on how to help Big Oil and other energy producers. He ignores the short term needs of consumers and offers only token plans on how to move away from dependence on oil.

Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska is even threatening to tie up the Defense Appropriations Bill (link) with his selfish and short-sighted insistence on drilling in ANWR.

We need better leadership to adequately address the needs of the 21st century. There are simple steps we can take that will make our nation cleaner and safer and put more money into our pockets. It could be as simple as phasing in hybrid cars over the next ten years, or beginning to build more energy efficient "green" buildings. Investing in alternative energy and energy efficiency could help grow businesses both big and small, which would provide much needed jobs

This is not hard, it just takes the right people with new ideas. There are lots of ideas to consider. Apollo Alliance, the Renewable Energy Policy Project, the Natural Resources Defense Council and even small groups of bloggers (link) have offered useful suggestions. And there are many others working on these issues.

But our federal government and its leaders are not adequately addressing either our short term or long term energy needs. Instead they put politically motivated legislation on the House floor, and continue to ignore the real problems we are facing. We can overcome our dependence on oil and provide new jobs at the same time, but not with the current leadership and representation we have today.

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Comments

22 Comments

What is Kuhl
saying to people in the 29th about his irresponsible representation of them?  
by Mike Pridmore 2005-12-18 10:32AM | 0 recs
Interesting question
Yesterday he gave an interview in the local newspaper that talking about how the vote in Iraq would bring troops home. He specifically stated that we shojld start to see "our boys and girls" come home from Iraq.  Tomorrow, I and the Commander fo teh DAV will go to the newspaper to demand an apology from Kuhl for calling our fighting men and women "boys and girls" - they are fighting men and women and if if does not understand the difference we will point that out. Other than that has  been very quiet - and appears to be running away from Bush as quickly as he can.  Of course, his voting record won't let him run far.

If I can fund this campaign to the levels requried to force a heads up comparison then we now know that we can win and return a Democrat to the Washington instead of a Republican Tom Delay Rubber Stamping Clone.

Eric

by Eric Massa 2005-12-18 10:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Interesting question
To fight for them to be called "men and women" vs "boys and girls" will be fairly petty.  We are all boys and girls, male and female, men and women.  The terms can be used fairly interchangeably. I don't think it inappropriate to say boys and girls, especially if his context was to refer to them more as "our children".  Each soldier is certainly someones child.  Someone's little boy or girl regardless of the weapon they may have in hand or the scars they may carry.  Pick another fight or another point to fight about.
by jrflorida 2005-12-18 11:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Interesting question
OK, I'm convinced.  You (jflorida) are an idiot.

Eric Massa is a retired U.S. Navy veteran.  I am a former U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman (enlisted) and U.S. Navy officer.

Any public official who denotes servicemembers as "boys and girls" is poor form, and veterans organizations spend a great deal on postage stamps reminding elected officials that men and women serve our country.    

There was a time that boys and girls meant something else.    

If you spent a day in uniform, you would understand.  But instead you quote star wars as infinite wisdom.  

Idiot.

by Bill Felmlee 2005-12-18 04:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Interesting question
Time in the military doesn't make your opinion right or even necessarily carry more weight.  My point was valid and you don't know how to use the ratings system.  
by jrflorida 2005-12-18 05:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Interesting question
My point was valid and you don't know how to use the ratings system.

That was funny.  I actually laughed.  You are so sensitive to ratings that you forget yourself.  

You need thick skin.  Little girl.  

by Bill Felmlee 2005-12-18 05:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Interesting question
You are a fool.  Please keep responding and let everyone know it.
by jrflorida 2005-12-18 05:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Interesting question
Please keep responding and let everyone know it.

What is this, study hour?  Don't tell me.  10th grade.  No?  11th grade?

Let who know?  

This website is about political activisim -- progressives.  This is not your personal chat session.  

You give Mr. Eric Massa some respect, I'll return it tenfold.  I promise.

by Bill Felmlee 2005-12-18 05:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Interesting question
I don't think it disrespectfull to say that taking an argument like that to the press is petty.  It will not prove successful and anyone that sees him do it will think he is being ridiculous.  I said simply, pick another fight or pick another point on which to take the current fight.  In no way was I disrespectful.  I will not however show someone respect, in your opinion I apparently need to worship his every word, simply because they have military service in their background.  It is not disrespectful to not agree with a position or to voice that disagreement.  You are the one that has gotten childish.  It is not in your disagreement but in your manner.  

"This is not your personal chat session."

Do you listen to yourself?

by jrflorida 2005-12-18 05:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Interesting question
Yep.  You're an idiot.
by Bill Felmlee 2005-12-18 05:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Interesting question
Let Eric Massa take care of himself.  I suspect he is capable of such a task and doesn't need thugs running around picking fights on his behalf.  Unless you think he is incapable of defending himself against someone that has not attacked him or disrespected him.  If he finds that any of my statements are somehow disrespectful he is welcome to say so.  I invite it.  I'm not particular concerned about your opinion, but I love seeing you show your colors.  It helps others that read this thread when they analyze your future posts.  
by jrflorida 2005-12-18 05:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Interesting question
That was funny.  Good laughs.  Really.
by Bill Felmlee 2005-12-18 05:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Interesting question
Respect.  You should take some time to read:

http://www.massaforcongress.com/inhisownwords.asp

Maybe you'll be less abrasive and more congenial. Or don't you get it?    

by Bill Felmlee 2005-12-18 05:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Interesting question
You say I'm abrasive?  Your kidding right?  I say again, no one, no one deserves carte blanche support simply because they have a military background.  That appears to be your argument.  Bush has a military background and does not deserve respect.   It is not disrespect to disagree with someone.  It is not disrespectful to say so either.  You agree with that correct?  If I think someone is going to go off and make a fairly silly argument to the press because someone used the term "boys and girls" vs "men and women", I'm going to tell them they should consider another course of action.  There are much better things to discuss.  It doesn't serve his interests to come off looking silly and its better that he hear it here than somewhere else.  Now you clearly disagree and I'm sure others do as well.  But don't try to bully me into keeping quiet.  It won't work and just makes you look bad in the process.  Rise above it.
by jrflorida 2005-12-18 06:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Interesting question
You're missing the point.  Please read:

http://www.massaforcongress.com/inhisownwords.asp

by Bill Felmlee 2005-12-18 06:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Interesting question
He sounds like a great guy.  I love that he worked for Clark.  I have to think that somehow that shared service might bring shared values.  No guarantee of that but one never knows.  Its great that he has faced both service and the personal fight against cancer (not that its great he hasd cancer specifically you understand).  It will bring him closer to the people he will hopefully serve.  That, however, does not mean that he should go to the press and complain that so and so used "boys and girls" vs "men and women".  Fight someone on real issues and not petty mud slinging.  Do you want him to come off as a whiner?  I suspect you don't.  You appear to like the guy.  I don't want him to come off that way either.  He has an excellent biography but thats not why I would tell him to not use that tactic.  Its, and you might find this humorous, lame.  In my opinion of course.  
by jrflorida 2005-12-18 06:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Interesting question
The wording "boys and girls" vs "men and women" is important.  Congressmen who say "boys and girls" do not understand what the uniform is about, and it is wrong.

I was at Bethesda naval hospital (NNMC) in the early 1990s and a Senator, in his late 60s, spoke to a group of us.  He kept saying boys and girls, this and that.  Problem was that 2 women were there--one had lost her eye and the other had four pins in her leg from an injury.  There were 5 of us men there, and guess what!?! Two of the men were African Americans.  One was a Marine (yep, an amputee), the other a Navy enlisted man (I cannot remember what he had--an internal wound).

The Senator was kind, in his own way.  Yet, it was still shameful.  It was demeaning.

If you live in Florida, why don't you travel to a veterans hospital and visit.  I bet you'll find a few veterans that are not much older than you.  

Mr. Massa's complaint is not a petty issue.  WORDS HAVE MEANING.  Active duty personnel and veterans are hypersensitive to any wording that is demeaning or derogatory in any way, regardless of how trivial.  WORDS HAVE MEANING.    

With so few Congressmen and Senators who are also veterans, it is important to understand Mr. Massa's complaint.  His complaint is valid.  WORDS HAVE MEANING.

by Bill Felmlee 2005-12-18 06:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Interesting question
Another deep rabbit hole!!!

Would Bill Clinton have said either boys and girls or men and women? Of course not. He would have used a term like soldiers. The real cause of all this confusion is that our Dissembler In Chief is constantly conning the dyseducated masses with his phony, idiotic, backwater-hick "dialect."

by blues 2005-12-20 01:54AM | 0 recs
Posted this reply at Kos
I was watching SNL last night and the opening sketch featured a "kid" wanting cheaper gas and asked Dick Cheney to open ANWR.  I will never support opening ANWR because of the environmental impacts.  We need a real energy independence plan in affect and I have hope that you can help make that happen.

As a sidenote, have you been able to get in touch with Col. Weaver's office?

by kydem 2005-12-18 11:07AM | 0 recs
A Congress that screws the needy
We have a Congress that screws the needy and feeds at the trough of the greedy. America is hurting.

Your are one of the heroes, Eric. Don't let it all wear you down. This is a fight against giants. Giants in oil, in medicine.

A our congress is filled with trolls, midgets and dwarfs. Where are the heroes to slay the beasts?

You must go to Congress, Eric.

Noel

by noelschutz 2005-12-18 12:33PM | 0 recs
I am for less consumption
I think consuming less and focusing more on friends, family, and community would just be better for all involved.

My 2 cents.

by Paul Goodman 2005-12-18 02:11PM | 0 recs
I apologize
Mr. Massa,

My apologies for taking jrflorida for a loop on your diary.

I failed to make a point.

Please keep blogging at MyDD.  Your message is important, and many of us who do not have the time to blog try to visit MyDD when we can.

I support you, and in 1Q 2006 I will contribute to your campaign.  I downloaded your contribution form, and will send it after the new year.  

My best to you this holiday season.

by Bill Felmlee 2005-12-18 05:52PM | 0 recs

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