Gas was still less than two bucks a gallon when some clever capitalist started selling "DRILL ANWR" merchandise online. While the T-shirts and coffee mugs were cool enough, the item that really caught my attention was the thong panties. I actually considered buying a pair as a Christmas gift for my wife, but she's not really that into energy policy. Now, however, with gas over $4 a gallon, I'm thinking about it again.
Environmentalists say drilling would endanger Alaska's caribou population, but let's face it, with gas prices this high, any caribou foolish enough to stand between Americans and an estimated 86 billion barrels of oil is likely to become roadkill.
Having done extensive research on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, I find that wildlife experts and energy policy analysts agree that caribou don't do anything to improve fuel efficiency. Even if you grind up a caribou and put him in your gas tank, scientists say, your mileage will not be significantly enhanced, regardless of the sadistic pleasure you might get from grinding up a caribou.
Sadistic feelings toward caribou are on the rise, psychologists warn. Increasingly, American motorists are asking themselves, "What have those stinking caribou ever done for us?"
NEGATIVE ATTITUDES toward environmentalists are also at an all-time high, as gas prices soar and more Americans become aware of the caribou-environmentalist axis that's keeping us from getting at those 86 billion barrels of oil. If it were up to the average SUV driver, Greenpeace and the Sierra Club would be classified as terrorist organizations.
Say what you will about Hezbollah and al-Qaeda, they've at least been neutral on drilling ANWR, which is more than can be said for Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland).
It's probably unfair to single out Mikulski as a caribou sympathizer, except that I live in Maryland, and my senator hasn't responded favorably to my frequent constituent e-mails demanding that something be done to get those damned caribou off our oil reserves.
Pro-caribou politicians are a bipartisan problem, however. Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) has compared drilling ANWR to drilling in the Grand Canyon. This is an absurd comparison. Dad never loads up the family station wagon and says, "Hey, kids, let's go see the caribou in Alaska!" It's about 4,000 miles from the East Coast to ANWR and at $4 gallon, nobody can afford that trip.
Besides, Dad would go crazy from the kids in the back seat repeatedly asking, "Are we there yet?"
Sen. Barack Obama (D-Illinois) is even worse than McCain on the ANWR issue, despite the fact that caribou are notoriously racist. Think about it -- when was the last time you saw caribou hanging out with a person of color?
Eskimos are the largest minority group in Alaska, and most Eskimos hate caribou, probably because their moms made them eat so much caribou when they were kids. "Not caribou casserole again, mom! Can't we have chicken fingers or pizza or something?"
The main advantage Obama has over McCain on this caribou issue is that the Washington press corps recently voted Obama "The Politician We'd Most Like to See in a 'Drill ANWR' Thong."
(Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr favors drilling ANWR, but not even the most radical free-market fanatic can stomach the mental image of Barr in a thong.)
Admit it, America: You've never seen an Alaskan caribou, and have no plans to go see one anytime soon. Even if caribou were in the National Zoo, nobody would make a special trip to see them. Caribou aren't cute and cuddly like koala bears or pandas.
Nobody loves a caribou, and most Americans wouldn't care if caribou became extinct.
THIS COULD BE easily arranged. The National Rifle Association is officially neutral on drilling ANWR, but an informal survey reveals that among rank-and-file NRA members, caribou is just another word for "venison."
Some clever congressman could slip an amendment into the next omnibus appropriations bill, putting a federal bounty on Alaskan caribou. Next thing you know, you'd have hunters swarming all over ANWR, gunning down the varmints that are keeping us away from those 86 billion barrels. This would also give a much-needed stimulus to the economy, especially the taxidermy industry.
By 2010, every redneck in Alabama could have a caribou head mounted on the wall of his doublewide trailer, and there wouldn't be a caribou left alive within 500 mile of that ANWR oil field.
Caribou will no longer be classified as "endangered" once they're extinct. And after the hunters are finished wiping out Alaska's antlered menace, we'll turn 'em loose on that feathered pest that's been screwing up the timber industry in the Pacific Northwest.
Spotted owl, the other white meat.
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