In August 2005, President Bush signed the Energy Policy Act. The greatest impact of the new law for most of us was that daylight savings time starts tomorrow night, one month earlier than usual. The nominal explanations for the time change are that it saves energy - the later it gets dark the less electricity we use. The second "official" reason according to the Secretary of Energy (a man named Bodman, who apparently doesn't have a first name and may not, in fact, be a real person but a life size Muppet) is the later it gets dark the less likely octogenarian drivers are to run over small children. But this being the Bush administration those two reasons; energy savings and concern for seniors and children, don't hold water. So, what would motivate the least eco-, family-friendly administration ever to make this shift?
Whenever I'm trying to figure out the motivations of the Bushies, I call my friend, Fred, the conspiracy theorist. I have no idea what Fred does in real life, it's possible that he's an accountant or hair stylist, all I know is when I want to know about the dark side, about the place where mysterious, evil things happen, I call Fred on his cell phone. I met Fred in the back aisle of a bookstore, he was hugging 1984 and Who Killed JFK? tightly to his chest. I was immediately drawn to his paranoid life view, really the only way to understand the last 6 plus years of our national life.
Here's our conversation from yesterday. I should warn you that Fred only talks using the Socratic method - it's a lot like talking to a Crazy 8 ball.
"Hey, Fred, what's the real interest that the Bushies have in changing daylight savings time?"
"Ah, yes, I've been waiting for you to call M97."
I don't know why Fred calls me that, and also don't know if there are 96 other M's in his world, or maybe I'm in the middle and there are actually 193 other M's.
"Who benefits from Bush's energy policy?"
"That's easy, big oil."
"Not so easy, try again, dig deeper. Who really benefits?"
"You mean financially?"
"What other kinds of benefits are there in Bush world?"
"Absolutely none. So, let me think. Who benefits financially from changing daylight savings in addition to big oil? Big Pharma?"
"You're really off your game today, M97. Although Big Pharma is always a good guess for who is making money when the rest of us are getting screwed, but not this time. We have gone to war for their benefit, we have pretended global climate change isn't real for their benefit, and we gave them the big windfall after Katrina. C'mon, M97, you can do it, who benefits?"
"Well, now that's easy, Dick Cheney and Haliburton, of course!"
"Naturally. I knew you'd get it, although it took more hints that you should be comfortable with. Gotta take this other call, I'm expecting developments on little Dannielynn's paternity any second."
"But, wait, Fred! Why would they make this change?"
Fred sighed and told me to hold on while he took the call from Larry Birkhead. He was back in a few minutes.
"The hair dye must seep into the heads of those California boys. Where were we?"
"You were going to tell me why Cheney and Haliburton wanted to move up Daylight Savings time."
"Ahhh, yes, following the money as always. There is only one thing that motivates Cheney and Haliburton beyond money, what is it?"
I hate Fred's pressure, my palms sweat, my mouth goes dry. Think hard, what motivates them!
"Oh, oh, I've got it! World domination! That's the right answer, isn't it?"
"Naturally, and how does this fit into their plan for world domination?"
Now, I was on a roll and had already figured it out.
"With the ability to set the clocks back they have mastered the space/time continuum, right? And, now that they control all of the world markets, the world's largest military, they are officially the masters of the universe!"
"My work here is done," said Fred, "I've got to call Howard K. Stern back."