By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Rethinking pink: Time again for a Buzz pop quiz. What's the precise, quantitative difference between a liberal—or progressive, as we pinkos prefer to call ourselves these days—and a conservative?
Impossible to answer, you say? Nonsense. Buzz knows exactly what the difference is, at least in our case. It's 1 cent.
See, at $3.99 for a gallon of gas, we're as pink as a bottle of rosé, smiling smugly in our Civic as douchebags in their 175-valve Canyoneros whiz by us on the freeway and we happily imagine the looks on their douchy faces when they fill up their douchy tanks. At $3.99, we look optimistically forward to the days of electric cars, solar power and a greener globe. Price drives behavior, and $3.99 spells good behavior. Go, Dems!
At $4 a gallon, we're thinking that John McCain doesn't look that much like a mummified corpse when he smiles that rictus smile of his, and we're wondering when the invasion of Iran is going to start. C'mon already, we say.
We are not proud of this.
In reality, a place Buzz has heard of but tries to avoid, attaching exact numbers to behavior and attitudes is impossible. For instance, Buzz checked this week with the North Texas Tollway Authority. It certainly seemed to us that traffic on local toll roads has been lighter recently. Were we just imagining that? Yeah, we were.
According to numbers provided by NTTA spokeswoman Sherita Coffelt, the total number of toll transactions on the President George Bush Turnpike has slightly increased over the same period last year. In April 2007, the turnpike posted about 1.53 million transactions, compared with 1.58 million for April 2008. Numbers on the Dallas North Tollway are difficult to compare because new sections were opened, but the trend is up. Of course, people still have to get to work, and the population is growing, but you'd think a decline in discretionary driving would send the numbers the other direction.
The Federal Highway Administration, however, estimates that total traffic miles driven in the nation dropped 0.4 percent between February 2007 and February 2008. In the eight-state South Gulf region that includes Texas, the decline was 0.3 percent—i.e., not much. Perhaps that's not too surprising either, considering that one alternative to traveling by road, at least for longer trips, is to board a plane, a prospect slightly less appealing these days than a rectal exam by a doctor nicknamed "Knuckles."
So, what does this all mean? Not much, except that Buzz suddenly thinks that drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge isn't that bad an idea. Really, what has an elk ever done for you?