Roll Your Own

"Hey, neighbor! Look over there at Mayor Greco's castle. Is he away on vacation?"

"How would I know? Maybe he's out to lunch — figuratively."

"Oh, it's just that all his lights are off — literally."

"Oh wait, I know. He's participating in Roll Your Own Blackout."

"Hey, now, this is Hizzoner we're talking about. You can't just accuse him of rolling doobies."

"No, no, no, nimrod. Roll Your Own Blackout, according to the press release, is a voluntary turning off of the lights and power-sucking appliances "in protest of George W. Bush's energy policies and lack of emphasis on efficiency, conservation and alternative fuels.'"

"No power all night? What about ER?"

"No, just 7 to 10 p.m. Can you handle that?"

"And miss Will and Grace? I don't think so."

Mayhap you see a bigger picture than these guys and the timber and oil industry's favorite president. At least that's what Mike Rectenwald, chair and founder of Citizens for Legitimate Government, is hoping. Rectenwald describes the protest idea as "anonymous and collective." His group, which formed in December in response to the Debacle (you know the one), is its main promoter.

"We're getting e-mails from as far east as China and as far west as L.A.," says Rectenwald, who prefers not to identify himself beyond his being an academic in Pittsburgh. "And we haven't yet begun to promote it."

Rectenwald fears heavy promotion of the event too far in advance would backfire because of "public amnesia" — the same sort of mental gaseousness that allows people to be "willfully deluded" by junk scientists behind studies claiming the greenhouse effect is so much hogwash.

Rectenwald notes that, among their other patrons, Bush and the GOP curry favor with Enron, a Texas-based company that — hey, wait a second. Wasn't Gee. Double-Poo. once governor there?

Yes, but that's not all. The company, according to Rectenwald, is among several that supply energy resources to California and have "artificially constricted the supply."

"They're the number one energy donor to the Bush campaign and the GOP," says Rectenwald. "And their profits have soared in the period of time since Bush took office — by almost half a billion dollars. That's not a bad payoff for, I think, a three- to five-million-dollar contribution. They're doing very well."

He calls the energy situation in California a "contrived crisis," but Bush's policies are a recipe for a disaster.

With moves like a short hike through the Everglades, Bush is trying to recast himself as an environmental president. Even if the President coated himself in green paint, Rectenwald wouldn't buy it.

"Posing in the Everglades or posing next to a certain type of tree just doesn't cut it," Rectenwald says. "I think the vast majority of the public sees right through it."

Roll Your Own Blackout lasts from 7 to 10 p.m. on Thursday, June 21. For more info, including suggested activities, visit

—David Jasper


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