Charles Krauthammer argued Sunday that it doesn't matter where you drill for oil, it's still drilling. Who could disagree? He says our high technology drilling leaves the safest, smallest footprint and our regulatory system is the least corrupt in the world.
However, that tiny area in the Arctic, one-sixth the size of Dulles Airport, is actually only for the drilling machinery. It is tiny only in comparison with the acres required for the roads and the pipelines needed to transport the oil plus the junk left behind.
And let us not forget the Exxon Mobil disaster of Prince William Sound, Alaska, which has still not recovered from the big oil spill. Spills continue regularly, dripping their pollution on land and sea.
Those who were pushing ethanol as the solution have discovered that it costs as much in a different way from gasoline. Using corn for fuel raises the price of food not only here, but all over the world. Just as destructive, it encourages cutting the trees of the rain forests to grow palm oil and sugar plantations and more corn. There go the trees that could absorb the carbon dioxide.
Now what? I am too old to bicycle uphill in the rain as I used to. But I can reduce my use of gasoline by driving slower in an efficient car.
Electric cars will get their electricity from wind power, which leaves no pollution behind. In only one or two years, there will be cars that plug in overnight and can cover a reasonable commute. Hybrid cars already get over 50 miles per gallon; the next models could double that.
I would bet the trend toward carpooling, public transit and inter-city buses will continue. The high cost of gasoline is pushing us that way. And -- surprise! -- it is even pushing down the cost of oil!
Maybe all is not lost. And we can even save our beaches. Or even the planet.
Riverside swim team missing from list
In publishing The Top 10 teams of the last 30 years (Sunday sports), the Times and its readers missed one of Hall County's most accomplished teams. While all of the teams excelled to make it as champions at the state and regional level, the Swimming Eagles of Riverside Military Academy should have earned top billing.
The RMA swim team has earned eight state swimming championships during the last 10 years. It won two state swimming titles in the GHSA, one in 1998 and another in 1999. And when the school switched to the GISA in 2002, the RMA team won every state championship since, six in a row.
In addition to the state championships, the Riverside swim team maintains GISA records for the 200 medley relay, 200 individual medley relay, 100 freestyle, 100 backstroke and 200 freestyle relay.
On the individual level, we missed one of Hall County's most accomplished athletes and students. Ben Gunn swam for Riverside during the 2005-06 and 2006-07 school years. In these two years, Ben set three school records and earned the title All American in the 100-yard backstroke, no easy feat.
For his athleticism and scholastics, Ben earned a scholarship to the United States Air Force Academy and made it to the Olympic trials in Omaha this July. I find it lamentable that we somehow failed to mention his accomplishments in this column.
As we well know, this type of accomplishment does not come without adult leadership. The RMA swim team has been expertly coached by Marc Paglia for the last 20 years. With his well-managed and disciplined coaching style, Coach Paglia has not lost a single swim meet in six years. And if one were to go back 20 years, they would be hard-pressed to find a swim meet he did lose.
In ranking the top 10, we citizens of Hall County missed this one. It begs the question: Are there other Hall County teams with similar records? I'm not sure. I do know that RMA wrestling is much better than one GISA state championship.