john dingell, natalie portman, gas tax and nudity

Dingell’s Press Secretary wrote in this morning to tell me that the Congressman’s plan for a gas tax would be unveiled on his website this Thursday. According to a piece in today’s “Detroit Free Press,” it’s looking like, when all is said and done, that the Congressman will be proposing a tax of 72 cents per gallon. The article went on to say that, in a very unusual move, the Congressman has said that he would be encouraging people to leave comments concerning the proposed legislation on his site. (No doubt he’s hoping to illustrate just how unpopular such legislation would be.)

Most people that know Dingell seem to think that it’s a ruse meant to torpedo any meaningful legislation on global warming that would include higher fuel efficiency standards. Conventional wisdom is that no one in Congress would support a bill that called for a gas tax, regardless of how well intentioned or necessary it might be, for fear that they’d soon be voted out by their constituents. Dingell, if you ascribe to this interpretation, would, by adding a gas tax to any legislation moving through his committee, come across as a heroic politician fighting to pass meaningful legislation that aimed to get Americans driving less and buying more fuel efficient cars, while, at the same time, dooming the bill, and keeping the status quo for Big Auto and Big Oil. It’s a brilliant strategy. He comes off as an environmental hero, at the same time he’s killing any chance of significant climate legislation being passed. Of course, he denies that this is what he’s doing.

According to Dingell, he has “never” in his 52 year career in the House put forward legislation that he did not believe in and want to see pass. He says that he believes in the gas tax, and wants to see it enacted. While a great part of me thinks he’s being disingenuous when he says this, I hold out some hope that he’s at least on the fence. I can’t help but think that, regardless of how he might have felt when he first floated this idea a few months ago, that there’s a possibility, if he feels the tide turning, that he might really embrace the idea and run with it. And, personally, I don’t care what the original motivation was as long as it leads to legislation that encourages conservation and decreases the polution that causes global warming. So, on Thursday, when he asks for public comment on the idea of a gas tax, I’d like to get as many people as possible writing in, leaving comments praising him for his courage and thanking him for stepping up and doing what other politicians are too spineless to do.

I’d love to write more tonight, but Linette just poked her head into this little corner of the living room closet that we now call my office and told me, “Tomorrow night, I’m going to arrange for you to see Natalie Portman nude.” I think you’ll understand why I need to cut this post short and start investigating.

update: OK, here’s the deal. As best I can tell, it’s viral marketing for the new Wes Anderson movie that’s coming out. And, according to the “LA Times,” Natalie Portman is nude. Apparently she’s in a five-minute nude love scene with Jason Schwartzman, and it’s going to be available for free though iTunes on Thursday… A nice double feature with Dingell’s announcement, don’t you think? If only Portman had done this to sell a gas tax instead of yet another Wes Anderson film.

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12 Comments

  1. Tbor
    Posted September 26, 2007 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    See also “73 cents” in the news today:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/26/technology/26halo.html?th&emc=th

  2. Steph's Dad
    Posted September 26, 2007 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    First the rapping, then the stripping.

    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/149127/natalie_portman_snl_gangsta_rapper/

    It’s a long way from the Ivy League.

  3. UBU
    Posted September 26, 2007 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    Mark, to leave a comment on my site just click on the words “add a comment” — let me know if that still doesn’t work…

  4. Left Field
    Posted September 26, 2007 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    Regardless of whether or not Dingell thinks a gas tax will go anywhere, I bet the automotive companies wouldn’t be as upset as you might think about a higher gas tax. They have to decide where to make big bets in terms of capital investment. A higher gas tax means more people buying smaller vehicles for sure and investments that are less risky. It’s also less cumbersome than mpg regs.

  5. mark
    Posted September 26, 2007 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    People waited in line up to 6 hours outside the Apple Store in New York for a chance to see her nude one day before everyone else… I have a link to the story, but it’s not letting me post it.

  6. mark
    Posted September 26, 2007 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    And I suspect you might be right about that, Left Field. Although, I think it’s likely that people would drive less if fuel were more expensive. So the auto companies might be better able to predict sales, but those sales may come less often… Does that make sense?

    And, poor, poor, Ubu… Won’t someone join him in his Maynard bashing? He’s so lonely.

  7. UBU
    Posted September 27, 2007 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    sorry Mark, I was just trying to help you learn the difference between “add a comment” and “send a message” which you evidently couldn’t distinguish. Don’t get your ypsipanties in a bunch…

  8. Steph's Dad
    Posted September 27, 2007 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    This site has the Natalie Portman video and some still shots. (She’s too skinny for me.)

    http://www.metro.co.uk/metrolife/films/article.html?in_article_id=67835&in_page_id=27

    (Do not click that link, Steph. I mean it.)

  9. Steph's Dad
    Posted September 27, 2007 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    I almost forgot why I logged on in the first place. (Damn you, Natalie Portman.) I checked Dingell’s site and he’s got something up about the carbon tax. None of the links are working yet though.

    http://www.house.gov/apps/list/press/mi15_dingell/PR092707carbontax.shtml

  10. Ol' E Cross
    Posted September 27, 2007 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Brilliant idea Mark! Dingell totally needs to do a five-minute nude love scene to show he’s sincere about the carbon tax. Maybe with Nancy Pelosi?

    Natalie Portman, on the other hand, just makes me feel like a pedophile.

  11. mark
    Posted September 28, 2007 at 12:18 am | Permalink

    I’m right there with you, Ol’ EC.

  12. Posted March 22, 2008 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    That is very, very unusual to be able to leave comments on a govt site like that. I wonder what the strategic reasoning behind it is?

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