Chavez dropping oil program for U.S. poor, who's to blame?

Hugo Chávez shuts off discounted heating oil to U.S. poor -
Chávez instituted the low-income heating oil assistance program in 2005 through the help of Joseph P. Kennedy II, a former congressman and a son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. Kennedy heads Citizens Energy.

Chávez won cheers when he announced during a 2006 visit to a Harlem church that he planned to expand the program.

Critics have lambasted Kennedy for taking Chávez's oil. However, he has always been unrepentant.

''Some people say it's bad politics to do this,'' Kennedy says in a video on Citizens Energy's Web page. "I say it's a crime against humanity not to. Because no one, no one should be left out in the cold.''

Cannot argue with the logic of Joe Kennedy's comments, because, dammit, it's not right to let folks freeze. It seems rather unbelievable that the same thing was not possible through anyone else, that this was even an option for Chavez to use -- ironically, it did some good. I don't like the power-happy guy, as he's religiously self-lauding and stunningly arrogant, but I cannot dislike his doing as he did. That makes every other oil provider, including the U.S. ones, culpable for low ethical standards. If Chavez can do this, what the hell, other oil men? Get off your bloated asses and provide some act of good, however cynical it may be, to the world.

Chavez? He's simply bad news for anyone who even suspects that capitalism, when properly and ethically dealt, works, especially in the U.S.

But the bottom line is, the rest of the industry is to blame for Chavez using this to his very political advantage. Using the poor. Ahh, what a common theme among politicians. Disgusting. Who's going to help now? Not Exxon Mobil, huh? You are all a bunch of "oil-holes." You know what I mean.

- jR

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Al Franken: I'm good enough, smart enough, and doggone it, I was voted in

Franken: 'I work for you now'
"I didn't win the support of every Minnesotan. I'm going to have to earn it by being a senator who fights for every Minnesotan.

"Whether you voted for me or not, I want every Minnesotan to hear this: I work for you now and I will work hard to earn your confidence."
Franken, with his wife, Franni, at his side, said he hopes to work with Coleman despite their bitter, expensive overtime duel.

"I know this is not an easy day for Norm Coleman and his family, and I know that because Franni and I and our kids had plenty of time over the last couple months to contemplate what this would be like if the election turned out differently."

Such respectful words make it hard to gawk about the fact that this guy used to be on SNL. For goodness sake, he's a grade-B comic writer and crappy memoir (political and "humor") book author, and now he's actually been voted in as a senator? Wow. I guess who I am now laughing at is the 50% (roughly) of Minnesota voters who voted for him. No. I believe in the process, though. They might even be all stupid, but that's hard to believe.

So rather than be so cynical, as Franken would be and has been in the past, I'll just bide my time and hope for the best from the funniest senator we have (now that Strom Thurmond is long gone). Hey, he'll be at home with all the other clowns on Capitol Hill. Maybe he'll even show them up. That'll be a shocker. (Picture: looking like a true Democratic icon, Franken poses as a donkey.)

- jR

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