Don Schrader for Sec. of Energy

I am really proud that I made myself watch Bush's State of the Union address. Wow! Eat your heart out, "Twilight Zone"!

The first half went on and on about how the Muslim world was marching shoulder to shoulder toward democracy because we invaded another sovereign nation that didn't do diddly squat to us, and Bush might decide to invade maybe Burma and Zimbabwe, and we are now officially changing "Weapons of Mass Destruction" to "Weapons of Mass Murder." For sheer unreality, it sounded like Baghdad Bob addressing the joint session of Congress.

The second half was just, well, odd. The economy is doing great. (Bush didn't mention that Americans are digging into their savings to survive.) Americans can out-compete everyone (Didn't mention hundreds of thousands of jobs outsourced. Didn't mention Latin America going Socialist out of sheer disgust with Bush and globalization.) Bush will cut more taxes to achieve more billions of debt. Bush announced a new effort to privatize/destroy Social Security, pronounced "soshkurty," in the form of a blue ribbon commission. Bush touted the need for a rational, humane slave-labor, uh, immigration policy.

Then the speech got really weird with Bush's firm, bold stand against all human cloning, including human-animal hybrids. (Am I missing something? Can I have a Weekly World News Batboy?)

He pledged to fight AIDS in African-Americans through church outreach (Can someone please send him a copy of On the Down Low?), and bragged about reducing or eliminating more than 140 programs that are performing poorly or not fulfilling essential priorities. "Essential priorities" was not defined. The cuts will save $14 billion out of a budget deficit well north of $300 billion.

Then Bush got to his talking point that had been faxed to every news agency in the English-speaking world: Americans are addicted to oil.

Now the reason I bring up our own Don Schrader is that, several weeks ago at a city council meeting, Don said, "Americans are addicted to gasoline," and he didn't use up millions of tax dollars to figure this out. Far as I can tell, Don walks the walk, having no car and very little consumption in other areas. So it's okay for him to say this.

But Bush is the guy who said, "What we need is an energy policy that encourages consumption." This is the guy who's been funneling mind-boggling subsidies to his oil, gas and coal buddies. This is the guy whose co-president, Dick "Tater" Cheney, wrote the nation's energy policy by huddling with his oil baron buddies over maps showing how to divvy up Iraq's oil. This is the guy whose Energy Secretary, Spencer Abraham, told a Saudi sheik to lower oil prices to avoid what they most didn't want—people turning to alternative energy sources.

Bush burbled on about restoring the money he cut from alternative energy research, about "zero-emissions" coal-fired plants, about "revolutionary" solar and wind technology, and about "clean, safe nuclear energy." He touted better batteries for hybrid cars and "pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen." (Well, pollution-free if you use solar or wind energy to produce the hydrogen.)

Bush didn't mention conservation, higher vehicle mileage standards, public transportation, reduced building energy loads, or the fact that Venezuela's Hugo Chavez is now selling heating oil at a reduced price to low income citizens in the New England states.

Bush announced his grand goal of reducing oil imports from the Middle East by 75 percent by 2025. Since we only import about 11 percent of our oil from the Middle East, we better do a damn sight better than that or we're dead.

Maybe that's what Bush was thinking about when he ended his speech with a pledge that, "We will finish well." What do you mean "we," kemo sabe? But with Bush it's always about him, so we can hope he just means his administration.