Fuel Prices: How We'll Adjust

Canadian National

Image courtesy CN.

So, fuel taxes are hurting the trucking industry. Airlines are either going bankrupt or gouging us for the peanuts. Taxis are squeezed. How can we hope to move around with the price of oil so high? What are the carbon taxers (Gordon Campbell and Stephane Dion) thinking?

But one transportation industry is thriving in this era of high fuel prices. Care to guess who? See here. It looks like the lowly railroad is making a comeback.

Despite skyrocketing oil prices, freight railroads are thriving. They are taking advantage of their greater fuel efficiency to haul more goods across the country. And they’ve mounted an aggressive marketing campaign to take even more.

There are already industries out there which are well suited to dealing with high fuel prices. In many cases, these industries have been those we’ve been hoping would succeed, to build a more fuel efficient, environmentally friendly world. We’ve been hoping to get more people out of their cars and into public transportation, getting cargo out of trucks and onto railroads. And now the market economy is finally forcing us to do what we’ve been meaning to do.

Dare I hope that we’ll see a revival of passenger trains if this keeps up?

In other news, Union Pacific opens a public observation tower overlooking the world’s largest classification railyard, in North Platte, Nebraska. People have already turned out in droves.

Environmental Plagiarism

You know, when I create titles for my books, one thing I do is type in the title into Google to see if it has been taken. I’ve had some near misses. Rosemary and Time was mostly free until the gourmet detective series Rosemary and Thyme started up. Fathom Five is a Shakespeare quote, so you knew it was going to be heavily mined. Nobody’s taken up The Young City and The Night Girl shares part of a title of an obscure fairy tale written at the end of the 19th century. All of these cases, I’ve been pleased that my titles have been distinctive enough to stand a bit apart.

So, I have to say that somebody or somebodies within the Liberal Party were very, very stupid not to have done just a little research to find out whether or not the proposed name for their carbon tax policy, the Green Shift, wasn’t being used by another company who might be a bit miffed by the violation of their trademark.

C’mon guys, this sort of rank amateurism is precisely the sort of thing you want to avoid when you want the media to, you know, actually talk about your policies. And how hard can it be, really, to do this? You guys have a youth wing. Computers and the Internet are not totally alien to you. Couldn’t anybody have plugged the term into Google and found what came up? Didn’t anybody do that in their spare time?

And to the Conservative Party supporters who are positively crowing about this stupid mistake, they should wipe that smile off their faces. Back in March 2007 they ran into the exact same problem (and received a lighter touch from the blogosphere and mainstream media, interestingly enough), meaning that the party you support couldn’t find its backside with both hands either. I’ve talked before about the dearth of leadership between the two main parties hoping to lead us for the next four years. Now it’s looking like there’s a dearth of intelligence as well.

Google. It’s an easy thing to use, guys. Look it up, and start looking things up.

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