George V. Reilly

State of the Union

(Originally posted to Politics at EraBlog on Fri, 07 Feb 2003 GMT 03:19:36)

I didn’t listen to Bush’s State of the Union last week, because I was still at work. Reading about it afterwards, I found it to be pre­dictably ob­jec­tion­able.

I’m a Toast­mas­ter, so I found Salon’s "Horrible" speaker, great speech to be an in­ter­est­ing critique of the delivery and pre­sen­ta­tion.

The only parts of the speech that I did care for were the hydrogen car and the promise to help prevent and treat AIDS in Africa.

Hydrogen cars would be a big im­prove­ment over gas-guzzling SUVs, but there are a few problems. First, they’re many years out and the Ad­min­is­tra­tion is making no moves towards more fuel efficiency in the short-to-medium term. A big part of the Iraq crisis is our dependence on foreign oil, but the Ad­min­is­tra­tion is riddled with oil and energy industry veterans.

Secondly, hydrogen may be en­vi­ron­men­tal­ly friendly to consume, but the production of hydrogen can be en­vi­ron­men­tal­ly harmful. "96 percent of hydrogen produced in the world today comes from natural gas, oil and coal – the same fossil fuels that en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists would like to abandon."

AIDS is ravaging Africa. 90% of new cases of HIV infection occur there, 30 million are HIV+, and millions have already died. Many of the dead are adults in the prime of their life, leaving behind orphans to be cared for by the elderly. Generic versions of the AIDS an­ti­retro­vi­ral drugs, although much cheaper than the first batch of drugs, are still beyond the reach of most Africans. Not only is it the morally right thing to help Africa, but it’s a good for our security. Failed states breed terrorism.

Apparently this has been in the works for several months and I applaud the Ad­min­is­tra­tion for this. Despite the Bush Ad­min­is­tra­tion’s preference for abstinence instead of safe sex, condoms are reported to be part of the package. Un­for­tu­nate­ly, much of the new money is coming out of money used to fight malaria and mal­nu­tri­tion.

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