J.R.Donohue/Commentary/Soon It’s Gonna Rain
| Home |   | Commentary |

Soon It’s Gonna Rain
A Dispatch From The California Green Wars
Your Reporter, FolkSongGuy

     To Whom it may concern, especially Greens,

     Today I’m really happy. There is good news regarding the energy crisis in California. I can point to significant concrete events which signal change. Not just talk: real events. I am in awe watching my government at work.

     First, officials of Cal-ISO (agency that manages the power grid in California) have invoked the power of high-tech in a significant way. They have expanded their website with a fancy and smart applet which will illustrate in real time the current state of the grid and highlight when and where the next blackouts will occur. Thus we need no longer be in the dark about when we will be in the dark. Officials are proud of the new gizmo on the site since they have focused tremendous resources to tackle the critical and thorny problem of being successful at disseminating information about failure. By the time you read this the applet, brightly named "Today’s Outlook," may already be in place at Cal-ISO’s website http://www.caiso.com.

     Far from stopping at the website (that would discriminate against the internet-challenged), Ca-ISO will pass the data on to radio stations. Soon, along with the weather and traffic, you will hear a forecast of blackouts for various "micro-climates" within California. How about that! Sprightly reporting of our blackouts will be heard every fifteen minutes on the AM dial in the comfortable and familiar form of rain prediction e.g. "42% chance of blackout this morning in the Pasadena area. Now a word from our sponsor Coleman Lanterns."

     But there is more: coming through in the clutch against enormous pressure, Cal-ISO has prepared a "blast notification" system which will transmit the approach of a blackout to companies, agencies and local governments via fax, email and even pager.

     Meanwhile, it has been announced that you can get a "blackout" exemption. That’s right, while all consumers are equal in California, some are more equaller than others. The exemption process is, naturally, highly scrutinized to be sure that no power-mad and frivolous companies such as manufacturing plants, small machine shops, retail stores, supermarkets (oh those open refrig cases, for shame) dry-cleaners, movie houses or car washes would stand the remotest chance of gaining exemption. Need I mention that a residential consumer stands about the same chance of getting one as Tom Cruise or Robert Blake of getting the Kind and Faithful Husband of the Year award.

     No, to gain an exemption one has to prove need on a victimaneous basis: homeless shelters, hospitals, childcare facilities, welfare offices, Democratic Party headquarters, etc., things of that ilk. As a matter of fact, economic-based justification was proudly, loudly and specifically condemned by the spokesperson for the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) today: "This is not an exercise in determining who is most affected economically by rolling blackouts," said Carl A. Wood. "Everyone suffers economically from outages equally." Thank God that in this time of crisis we can at least be assured by our public officials that the non-profit egalitarian moral integrity of our state has been preserved and that no one will get off the hook merely because of selfish fears of losing money. What community spirit! Just like in the Great Depression when we all suffered together.

     All requests for exemption must be filed by June 3 and will be judged by August 2, in time for the season’s grand opening, er, beginning. It was not announced if exemptions would be good for next year’s blackouts. Should you wish more info, please consult the website set up by the PUC: http://www.rotating-outages.com or their toll-free hotline at (888) 741-1106. Due to overwhelming popularity of this program, you may experience difficulty getting through. Be patient and turn off your lights while waiting, please.

     One last note on exemptions: Apparently the San Francisco Giants baseball team has already applied, but it is uncertain whether they are merely a greedy sports franchise (no exemption for you!) or a victim of the Los Angeles Dodgers and as such worthy of our pity and exemptions.

     How’s that for cutting-edge government service! I am sure that the people that put the above systems into place must have derived enormous satisfaction and I hope they said to themselves with pride, "This is what I was born to do!" I also hope this shuts up the critics of government management once and for all, gosh darn it; these systems going into place so efficiently are a perfect example of planning and preparation and future-vision, making a welcoming place for blackouts in the culture, helping the populace overcome the fear of the new, provide for professional accommodation for them as we go out into the coming years. It's almost like "A Five Year Plan" for blackouts. Why, before you know it the government will have managed this new phenomenon so well that hardly anyone will remember back to the olden days when we didn’t have blackouts.

     On another front, the Democratic State Legislature has also been working furiously and came up with a really creative approach: They are suing federal energy regulators with the intent of forcing them to cap the wholesale prices of the greedy unfettered power producers. These producers are the whole problem, you know. All they think about is making more and more power, getting better prices and piling up obscene profit. Disgusting.

     Yup, since the California Dems themselves have been unable to turn the trick of putting blinders, fetters, trammels, hobbles, shackles, bridles, saddles, yokes and reins on the stallion power generators, and since the recalcitrant feds under The Bush won’t take action (in spite of the many hard-charging harangues by our heroine, Senator Diane Feinstein), the California Democrats are suing. The suit, of course, is properly framed as relief for the underprivileged, the downtrodden, the helpless and the weak of California. It heroically cites the damage that will be done to "... oxygen tanks, drip IVs, dialysis machines and electrically-powered therapeutic beds" should the feds not do their altruistic duty and price-cap the living hell out of those producer bastards.

     By the way, there is little truth to the rumor that if this straight-forward suit gets no traction the Dems will take a page from a recently successful tactic used against the LAPD: to sue the feds under the RICO anti-gangster statutes on the grounds that the Republican do-nothing-to-bail-us-outers are a racket, an arm of organized crime and therefore guilty since "failure to rescue the powerless" surely amounts to criminal conspiracy with intent.

     So, the CalDems will continue to try to cap the robber barons, they will also sue the Feds to cap the bastards, the producers may cap their wells and last Sunday night on the finale of "The Sopranos" Jackie Jr. got capped, but he deserved it for cheating on Tony’s daughter everyone knew he was going to get capped and sure enough badda-boom badda-bing here it comes but when he finally came right down to it you were glad he got capped and also that the guys who did the capping didn’t screw up like they did trying to cap that other guy ya know the young guy in the kitchen who the dying cancer old guy he came out of retirement tried to cap him but his cap gun....

     ::::: Sorry about that :::::

     Late breaking news: I just now heard that veteran attack lawyer Joe Cotchett, who nailed Charles Keating and big tobacco, has joined our righteous cause. And keeping with the purity of our people, he has agreed to work for $1.00 per month. Cotchett once caused one of his victims to have a heart attack on the stand. Oh boy!

     At this point I restrain myself. I was just about to comment that Cotchett, in accepting $1 per month, had capped himself but feared I would go out of control again. Wonder if anyone will ever answer for that big-hearted hooker, the one Tony liked, who Ralphie killed by smashing her face into a steel guardrail?

     Next, I am happy to report that our beloved Governor Gray Davis has been active. He has been seeking wisdom. First, on May 19th he visited Texas. This is the state where many of the greedy power generators operate. While I can’t report on the exact conversations he had there, I can say that his rhetoric against these monstrous entities has markedly improved and escalated -- to our benefit. After all, these pigs shamelessly insist on making a profit on energy and have had the stupefying arrogance to threaten to NOT PRODUCE if their prices are capped. Mr. Davis obviously garnered a lot of value from his Texas junket as his name-calling against the generators has improved and gotten personal.

     Upon his return he transferred his new found attitude to and let loose his buddy, the highest criminal prosecutor in California, Atty. General Bill Lockyer, who promptly stated to the Wall Street Journal that he would "love to personally escort" Kenneth Lay, President of Enron in Houston and the top greediest of all them Texas wildcats to an "8-by-10 cell that he could share with a tattooed dude who says, ‘Hi, my name is Spike, honey.’" While some might think it out of line, this comment demonstrates that The California Justice Department will NOT allow lack of formal charges to get in the way of prosecution!

     Also, Lockyer has clearly stated that all aspects of the producers’ business practices since deregulation (why did we ever do that, oh why or why oh why?) will be scrutinized with the zeal of a paranoid father grilling his virgin daughter’s first boyfriend, with the monomania of a newly engaged Hollywood bimbo starlet suspicious of the pedigree of her diamond engagement ring, with the fanaticism of Joel Cline as he holds the neck of Microsoft firmly in the grasp of his merciless jaws, with the imperious glare of the Spanish Grand Inquisitor.... oh sheesh, you get the picture; Lockyer is snarling at them big time. At one point he even called them "buccaneers."

     Now, I must stop here to squelch the ugly rumors about this Texas trip last Saturday. First, it can only be Republican demagoguery that insists the actual purpose of the trip was that little itty-bitty tiny fund-raising dinner Mr. Davis attended and subsequent increase in his name-recognition. I must speak also against hurtful remarks that while in Texas Mr. Davis should have gotten regulatory officials there to cease and desist the supposedly "outrageous" penalty charges for polluting that Texas generators have to pay because they have had to reopen older (less clean) plants to keep up with California’s "unfettered demand." Mr. Davis would NEVER attempt to rescind the anti-greed punishment measures so dearly won by the Greens of Texas. How dare anyone insinuate otherwise!

     Next our enterprising Governor slid over to Chicago on Sunday. There he engaged in focused and intense study of how this great city deals with blackouts. How can there be any doubt that the stupendous information so gathered will help us in our time of need.

     Now, I must stop here to squelch the ugly rumors about this Chicago trip. First, it can only be Republican demagoguery that insists the actual purpose of the trip was that little itty-bitty tiny fund-raising dinner Mr. Davis attended in the Windy City and attendant increase in his name-recognition. I must speak also against hurtful remarks that while in Chicago Mr. Davis only learned useless stuff about that city’s particular style of blackouts, not caused at all by generation shortages but rather by a grid structure so creaky, old and decrepit that Mrs. Murphy’s cow is believed to have operated as a through-put system of greater efficiency. How insulting that anyone would besmirch Mr. Davis’s intelligence in this way.

     Now the above slights done him may provide insight into Mr. Davis’s recent brilliant move, which was to hire the famous public relations firm of Mark Fabiani and Chris Lehane at $30,000 per month for six months. These operatives are very famous. They have hacked with the best, especially Bill Clinton and Al Gore, and have a reputation of ruthless savagery. Their services are sorely needed, as in this war we are up against that infamous Green-hating arch petroleum sycophant George Walker Bush. Really, it is Bush who is standing in our way. If we just sic these new attack dogs on him (they are so rabid they’ll cripple ‘im just by peein’ on his boots) we will be soon able to force the feds to cap the wholesale price of power and re-regulate the greed mongering cowboy energy producers, thus allowing us to float bonds to pay for the back-losses, confiscate much of the property of the utility companies (what good are they anyway?) and as a side benefit acquire vast undeveloped land to add to the state’s holdings as wilderness area forevermore in a spectacular victory for our Green revolution. No condos for you!

     When you think of it that way, $180,000 seems paltry and the fact that taxpayers foot the bill for Mr. Davis’s war hounds is a trifling bit of flotsam. At the very least these guys will come up with something better than "Support Gray Davis against the producers; you won’t be shocked."

     I pause to squelch the rumor that a prime motivation for the hiring of the wild dingo spin-doctors was to pump up Mr. Davis’s presidential visibility. Shame on those who attempt to indict Our Hero as using taxpayer money (while he has 30 million socked away) for such cynical motives. It’s not political, I tell you, its advocacy for therapeutic beds.

     If you think you can’t stand any more good news, prepare for the best of all: We are now going to get to the heart of the matter. You should know by now that a large part of the "shortage" problem is that power normally purchased from the Pacific Northwest has not been available. Why? Not, as rumored, because of grudge-based withholding, California bashing or deprecation by the Oregonians of our beloved SUV culture. No, it's because of global warming! Less snow pack in the Cascade Range. Less spring runoff. Lower reservoir levels. Less hydroelectric power generation.

     Here I must pause to squelch the ugly rumors that the reduction in hydro power is due to the recent achievements of blowing up dams and thereby liberating previously oppressed rivers, or by allowing 25% more water to bypass the dams in order to give certain salmon (fish) the ability to swim upstream properly and spawn, the multi-multi-million dollar mechanical bypass system for this purpose -- smearingly called the "Salmon Waterpark Ride" by uncaring anti-Greens -- having failed. No No No, it is due to God (that arch-Conservative co-conspirator) not producing enough snow and the obscene filth-belching power plants causing global warming.

     The really good good news in this area was reported yesterday morning on the CBS radio network: California formally requested an Indian tribe in the Northwest to perform a rain dance to end the drought up there so they could produce more power and send it to us quick. The Tribe gladly did it! Now, this dance has not exactly actually yet caused actual rain to actually fall into actual reservoirs behind actual hydro dams, but is it not obvious we must under the crisis paradigm suspend durationality in order to open continuum/space for such spiritualated power/shamans, who, while they are already actualizing rain and rain potentialities on multitudinous vivid contiguous and co-valid plane/constructs abounding in the historicity of their tribal ethos and throbbing through their collective soul nexus -- one of the indigenous dancers is named "Rain-In-His-Heart" -- and about whom narrow linear-thinking greed-based beef-fed causality-valorized white males understand little -- must be trusted to eventually "frame-time" and therein construct rain on the narrow, specificized level of sense-bound and hard-coded "results?"

     I must pause here to squelch an ugly interpretation of a small incidental associated with the great munificence of the Indians helping us in time of need. I humbly report that while, yes, it is true that the tribe sent the State of California an Invoice for $1000.00 for services rendered in the Rain Dance, this ought not to be negatively construed, as some pundits have attempted to do today. We ought to rejoice as we sign that check. Next to their mighty ability to produce rain by chanting, our puny attempts to produce power are obviously disgraceful failures. We ought to put those Indians on the payroll of the State of California at once! Indigenous Power Forever!

Yours naturally,

P.S. Stand by, stand by.... it has just been announced that the $30,000 hound dogs have come up with the new slogan for Our Hero: "Gray Davis -- just ask yourself, are you better off now than you were 457 years ago?"




folksongguy is the alter-ego of operaguy
aka John Donohue,
Pasadena California

Credit for the "you won’t be shocked" and the "457 years ago" quips: anonymous callers on the Hugh Hewitt radio show. All other ideas are that of the author.

To respond to a commentary, click here.

All essays Copyright 2001 J.R.Donohue
All Rights Reserved
No usage rights granted without the written permission
of the author. Inquires: here.

| Home |   | Commentary |