Last week's Friday-afternoon news dump was that the Bush Administration wants to sell 200,000 acres of Forest Service lands. They say they're getting less revenue from timber sales these days -- must be the current craze for plastic houses -- and they need to make up the shortfall somehow. And if you absolutely, positively can't raises taxes or cut defense spending, what else can you do but sell a mountain?
Never mind that the revenue they're going to get for the public losing all that acreage is negligible. (They hope to net $800 million from the sale, which is what they spend in Baghdad every week just on the catering.) So you have to ask yourself, why do they even bother?
And the answer, I think, has nothing to do with budgets. It's that there's a certain breed of American who, during a cross-country plane trip, looks out the window at that vast expanse of forests and meadows passing below and thinks, What a fuckin' waste. And it's not that they have any plans for the land -- how many Wal-Marts can mankind sustain, anyway? -- it just rankles them that the land even exists, unless it's got good huntin' or fishin' on it.
These are the conservatives who are always blathering on about how America has more wilderness than it did when Lewis and Clark were alive, then five minutes later they go on a tirade about how we've got to stop illegal immigration before they take up all the land. So here's my suggestion: we let Bush sell these 200,000 acres, but he can only sell them to Mexicans.
New Rule: "It turns out there's never a good time to take off three months and get drunk. Why is it why when I go on hiatus all the important stories break?" Watch the video:
The new season of Real Time with Bill Maher premieres this Friday, February 17, at 11 pm on HBO.