Atmos Energy expects to raise customers' bills by 60 to 90 percent this winter; TXU wants to raise its bills by 24 percent by January. It's costing $40 a week just to get to work. And all I want for Christmas are cheaper utility and gas station bills, but instead I'm trying to figure out how to make presents by recycling things I already have at home. Tin ornaments? Laundry-detergent bird feeder? Maracas made from stale rice and yogurt cups? But then there's still the matter of paying those energy bills. How much is plasma going for these days? What about on the black market? How much revenue does an ovary bring? Or two--they're a matched set. It's no wonder that when most people hear that there's oil in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, they think, "Hell, yeah, start drilling." Oil at any cost as long as it means less cost to me, we think. It's hard to care about the means necessary when the end could mean less of a hit on the pocketbook. After last week, drilling in this (so far) protected zone is one step closer to happening because the Senate approved legislation to allow it. This week, a vote takes... More >>>