Essentially Ashland: By Lance Pugh

I knew that I was onto something.

It was about 5 a.m. and I was flailing away at the keyboard when my dog, Spooky, looked at me with longing eyes and a dripping tongue. He was longing for kibbles and I was lost in a mad downpour of digits, which, I hoped, would result in something interesting, hypnotic and completely compelling, but I would settle for 650 words of froth on a sea of delusion.

Works for me.

National Public Radio, a true measure of sanity, leapt to life and reported more insolvency, greed and corruption from a myriad of financial institutions over which our current administration has placed donors and cronies as watchdogs and regulators. I was previously aware that millions of citizens were losing jobs, homes and healthcare yet, unfortunately, not much was being done to assuage their pain and grief "¦ Rather it was the lenders, you know the ones who hire lobbyists that shower our lawmakers with dew drops of caviar cash, lavish vacations, home repairs (think Ted Stevens of Alaska and his Big Oil Buddies and the Bridge to the Presidency), jobs for relatives, off-shore indulgencies and Oscar de la Renta gowns that are receiving the hand outs, the big hugs and kisses. The little guys are treated like bubble gum on the soles of busy shoes, while imported cigars are handed out, along with blank checks, to the Gordon Geckos who have profited immensely without oversight. They will simply cash the check and go "hunting" in some game preserve with Cheney while wolfing down brews.

First of all, who the heck named Fannie Mae and Freddy Mack? They sound like some relatives from Cleveland, who have never lifted the phone to say hello. The former was chartered in 1938 and the latter in 1970. They ostensibly did the same job, yet when they teetered, our administration knew that the house of cards, overseen by a self-appointed emperor with no clothes, was about to collapse. So they bailed them out. Sounds like a "Scooter" Libby get out of jail trump card.

On the heels of another itsy bitsy teeny weenie hurricane that reached from Tallahassee to Matamoros and has left millions without power for weeks to come, another bail-out rounded the bend. This time is was the megalithic AIG, which, had it tanked, might well have ushered us back to the Great Depression. Heck, it only took an 85 billion dollar "investment" and we're now good to go, but where? Are we destined to go to Johnny Horton's North to Alaska, eating raw moose with a buck knife?

A good portion of our citizens truly believe that "drill, baby, drill" is part of the pledge of allegiance and not, in fact, part of a Karl Rove inspired plan of obfuscation and deception. Let me get this right: Start drilling today and 10 years later the oil found will be funneled into the "open market" and bought by China, as we won't be able to afford it. Big Oil and its platitudinous pimps make the money, but hey, we sure got a good mantra to chant. How about conservation, going solar and being benign with the wind at our backs?

It is often said that true change begins at home. If this is true, then we should all put a green shoulder to the wheel. Recycling is well underway. Ashland sports quite a fleet of privately owned Prius's, though the city seems still under the intoxicating aroma of diesel fumes and oversized trucks. Let's figure out how to maximize the benefits of our existing robust fiber network by encouraging video/sales connections from every home to all businesses? This will not bode well for our local gas stations, as we will drive downtown only to pick up a confirmed sale, a good meal or a meeting with friends.

Lance@journalist.com was last seen sitting on his porch and video-conferencing with a friend in Hong Kong. He then made a video call to a neighbor who has a large collection of hot sauces, as lance has a fire in his belly to take North America out of its dependency on middle east oil and the Halliburtons of this world.