WANNA BE A MEMBER: By all accounts, high-fructose musical pop-tart Katy Perry can craft a song as expertly as she has orchestrated her “good-girl-gone-baaad” purrrsona, and all these talents were on ample display as Perry descended on Dos Pueblos High School — the beloved alma mater from which she GED’d out of at age 15 — this Tuesday. Perry arrived onstage in a skintight cheerleader costume, which she tossed into the crowd after wiping her ’pits with it. Then she got serious about being naughty, serenading the students dressed in a spray-on candy-striper outfit. There was no shortage of penis jokes, and for the hearing-impaired, Perry used her pinky finger. For those who didn’t get the hidden meaning of “I want to see your pea-cock” the first time, Perry brought the point home with, “cock, cock, cock.” I know turnabout’s fair play, but the fact is, penis jokes have serious repercussions.
For example, a couple of right-wing petro-billionaires named Charles and David Koch — pronounced in some quarters to rhyme with “block” — are getting back at the world for all the jokes they’ve been forced to endure by bankrolling the Tea Party nationally. And in California, they just put $1 million into the campaign to pass Proposition 23, which would repeal California’s landmark anti–global-warming legislation — AB32 — passed four years ago. Talk about punch lines that won’t quit. In Delaware, the Tea Party movement just elected Christine O’Donnell, a good girl who should have gone bad but never did, as the Republican candidate to run for Senate. O’Donnell is a pro-chastity activist — so extreme she even opposes masturbation — and beat longtime Republican congressmember Mike Castle by accusing him of being “light in the loafers.” The Koch brothers’ father established the family fortune by refining oil for Russian dictator Joseph Stalin in the 1930s, using the proceeds to fund a host of anti-Communist crusades. His sons took a step further, spending $100 million to underwrite a host of think tanks and advocacy groups reflecting their radical free-market passions that, combined together, are known as “The Kochtopus.” As businessmen and social engineers, the Kochs espouse the dogma they’ve dubbed “creative destruction,” a school of thought that holds change is good, more change is better, and constant change is best of all. To the extent they believe in climate change and global warming, they’ve hired experts to explain how human activity is not to blame. To the extent climate change is opening new lands to possible cultivation — and once-frozen waterways to human navigation — they argue it’s a good thing.
Little wonder that in California, the Koch Boys have latched onto Prop. 23 to repeal the state’s global warming law. It’s worth noting that Prop. 23 is so extreme that even oil companies like Chevron and many political organizations that normally toe the knee-jerk pro-business line have stayed away from it. Maybe that’s because 110 economists signed a joint letter proclaiming that Prop. 23 would kill jobs. Maybe that’s because former secretary of state George Schultz — a card-carrying Reagan Republican — has endorsed California’s global-warming law on national security grounds. Prop. 23, he argued, will increase our reliance on foreign oil, the proceeds of which will inevitably bankroll terrorist outfits. None of this factored into the thinking of Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina — the Republicans running respectively for governor and senator — both of whom have drunk the Prop. 23 Kool-Aid and now want us all to drink it.
Closer to home, there are even more astonishing absurdities. As an adjunct to California’s global warming bill, the State Legislature passed SB 375, which requires local governments to present detailed plans on how they’re going to bring the greenhouse gas emissions caused by traffic back down to 1990 levels. Normally, one might think Santa Barbara — being “The Birthplace of the Environmental Movement” — might be all over this. You would be soooo wrong. Of all 58 counties in the state, only two have had the audacity to propose an actual increase in greenhouse gas emissions. And Santa Barbara is one of them. When you look at our air pollution projections for the year 2020, Santa Barbara County has proposed the single largest percentage increase in the state. When it comes to having one’s head inserted into one’s rectum, we’re clearly Number One. Only when we get to the year 2035, do we get eclipsed by El Dorado County, and then just barely.
By contrast, Ventura County has signed onto a plan calling for a 6-percent reduction by 2020. Likewise, San Luis Obispo County has proposed an 8-percent reduction. But Santa Barbara is apparently so special that the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments — otherwise known as SBCAG — has proposed increasing our emissions by 6 percent by 2020 and by 4 percent by 2035. Translated into actual pollution, drivers on our roads generate 16.8 pounds of carbon dioxide a day for every man, woman, and child living here. If SBCAG — the quasi-clandestine, über-governmental super-agency made up of all five county supervisors and the mayors of all eight cities — has its way, we’ll increase that to 17.5 pounds per capita in 10 years. Rarely in the history of human affairs have people blessed with so much offered to do so little when confronted with so serious a crisis. Kind of takes your breath away. The situation is so pathetic that environmental activists are willing to settle for a no-net-increase commitment by SBCAG. In other words, we stay the same. But given the political dynamics of the SBCAG board, even that may be a stretch. One reason why Ventura and San Luis Obispo are so far ahead is that they accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in state grants to study the problem to death. In so doing, they discovered ways to reduce the car miles traveled without turning their world upside down. By contrast, Santa Barbara officials declined such money for fear that one day, some state bureaucrat might tell them what to do. Sadly, we can’t say we’ve been screwed by a couple of boys named Koch. This act of “creative chaos” we inflicted on ourselves. The SBCAG board meets this coming Monday at 9 a.m. to make the final decision on how much we’ll pollute. If you’d rather they didn’t cut off their noses to spite our face, show up at the county supervisors’ chambers and tell them so.