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American Creativity confronts Bush on offshore drilling
Click to visit VeggieCooking.com [Posted 20 May 2006]

As Bush made his way to Virginia Beach yesterday, to charge his supporters $5,000 for lunch, a plane flew over the area pulling the banner "PRES BUSH DON'T DRILL VA'S COAST" (see photo below).

Bush's visit ignored the issue of spoiling Virginia's coast, and all the other issues, too -- he was just there to eat lunch for Thelma Drake, a sold-out Virginia politician who was recently exposed in a series of moveon.org television ads. Bush raised $500,000 for Drake, according to news reports, charging 100 supporters $5,000 each to eat lunch with him. (How does campaign fundraising law allow that? If I want to donate to a Congressman's campaign, I'm limited BY LAW to just over $2,000. So I could donate more if they hand me a veggie dog with beans, and call it a "fundraiser"???)

Rep. Drake votes Bush's way nearly 100% of the time, accumulating a dire record of support for every big corporate payoff on Bush's wish list. (Breaking news today -- several coal miners died in Kentucky early this morning. Just gotta "love" that lax mine safety enforcement implemented by the Bush Administration. Just donate to their campaign, and you can break any law and kill as many people as you want.)

Unfortunately, Drake couldn't make it to Bush's little gala in her honor. She stayed in DC, claiming that she couldn't miss a vote that evening involving the military and awards of government contracts (incidentally, the bill passed by 29 votes, so it's unlikely she thought the vote would be close). Drake's office later denied that being seen with President Bush was too much of a political liability to risk. Nope, his ever-dropping poll numbers, Iraq, and $3 gasoline had absolutely nothing to do with it...

Now, Bush doesn't like hearing about the suffering his actions have caused the American people, or anyone else for that matter. So normally he has "free speech zones" set up miles away from his speaking engagements, arresting protesters who dare come within earshot or visual site of the man, lest his "baby feelings" be hurt by the harsh consequences of his actions. But ingenuity is still in good supply here in America, and somebody hired a plane to breach any "free speech zone" and advertise their concerns in the sky, to the entire Virginia Beach community. The airplane with banner pictured below was caught on camera at 8:32 a.m., according to its uncropped, original digital time stamp (there's actually a photo below, even though its sky is almost the color of this page):

Airplane pulls banner over Virginia Beach 19 May 2006, 'PRES BUSH DON'T DRILL VA'S COAST'
America has finally come to this -- the President has become so inaccessible that people need to fly a plane around town to be seen and heard. It took me a while and several calls to track down the geniuses responsible for this stunt. Calls to the local airport and newspaper weren't returned. But I'd seen reports (not acknowledging the plane or its photo) of the the local Sierra Club protesting offshore drilling. So I called a few Sierra Club offices, and finally was able to track down Josh Low of the Virginia Sierra Club (Richmond). Mr. Low confirmed that the Sierra Club had paid for the banner and airplane. He told me that the Sierra Club was aware of Bush coming to Virginia Beach for the fundraiser, and also that Bush was a big proponent of offshore drilling along Virginia's coast. The Sierra Club's position is that offshore drilling would spoil the area's environment, waterways, and Virginia's natural heritage. Annie Strickler of Sierra Club's San Francisco Headquarters confirmed this information, and also mentioned that the Sierra Club is concerned with Virginia Beach's tourism economy, and the potential for possible oil spills from offshore drilling in the area.

Virginia Beach is an odd area, environmentally. I've been through there several times, but wouldn't enter the water at any of its Beaches. It's located too close to the big military bases in Norfolk. (Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Newport News, etc., are all in the same metro area -- only signs indicate where one ends and the other begins.) In fact, the town itself always has noisy, smelly military aircraft disturbing the neighborhoods. I don't know how the homeowners manage to tolerate it. But many people who live there are affiliated with the military or benefit from the money of military people, and so tolerate it they must.

The area can also be quite beautiful in places, with a surprising tourist trade and vast natural wetlands -- among numerous roads that lead into various Naval base entrances. Take a wrong turn, and you're approaching the US Navy. Take another, and you're driving through a huge marsh or crossing a long bridge over the water. Despite the environmental handicap of the US Navy, the town manages to have a certain amount of environmental consciousness. And I'm sure local residents were glad to see the Sierra Club's banner in the sky, breaking through the more popular issues of the day to stop oil rigs from further degrading their living conditions. It's great to see the Sierra Club making the effort to preserve the area's remaining beaches and waterways, and I hope they're successful.

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