Thanksgiving is the time for turkey and conspiracy theories at the Madville Times extended family gathering. My brother-in-law suggests we watch out for something called morgellons, a mysterious skin rash he suggests may be connected with Project Bluebeam and the Illuminati.
Oh my. I'll settle for for my own nutty idea that along with its overt online operations, the Sam Adams Alliance was also pursuing a coordinated campaign to clutter up the comment sections of liberal blogs with their favorite anti-leftist/Marxist/Messiah memes and Lee-Atwater-style personal attacks to throw us off our guard. Clever....
And now for a conspiracy theory that you might actually believe: my lovely and well-read wife contends that Big Oil is artificially deflating oil prices. They cahootsify with speculators to crank up the price as high as they could and build up a nice nest egg of record-breaking profits. They draw investors into the alternative energy market to sink big money into ethanol and other alternative fuels. Then they slam on the brakes and hold oil prices below the level where ethanol can compete. Big Oil has the reserves to ride out a year or two of losses; VeraSun et al. do not. Crush the alternative energy start-ups, lull the rest of us into complacency, put off any serious market challengers for another decade or two.
Don't get me wrong: I'm thrilled that the trip to G-ma and G-pa's house will only cost $32 this Thanksgiving instead of $61 as it did back in April. But the precipitous drop in gasoline prices, seemingly out of proportion with falling demand and rising supply, suggest market manipulation. (Of course, one wry editor jokes the conspirators are us!)
Conspiracy or no, will we retreat from red-alert status on kicking our oil addiction? I'd like to think we won't repeat the short-sightedness of the 1980s and 1990s, when we happily put the oil shocks of the 1970s behind us and built our lives, parking lots, and Detroit business model around ever bigger vehicles. I'd also like to think President-Elect Obama has the moral courage and long-term vision to not let us forget $4-a-gallon gasoline and to stick with his plan to create those millions of green-collar jobs.
So go ahead, engage in some happy over-consumption at the dinner table. Pass me another drumstick and an extra plop of dressing (o.k., two plops). But then go for a walk, burn off that turkey, and cast a wary eye, if not on those invisible satellites the Illuminati are launching, then on those strangely low gas prices at the corner gas station.
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