BTW, Gov. Murkowski–you might want to eat something…

…like your WORDS. I hope you kept them soft and sweet, and went easy on the pepper! Seems that someone in Washington doesn’t exactly share your opinion of a certain red-shirted ex-paratrooper in Venezuela…and neither does your country’s ambassador!

U.S. Energy Secretary Sam Bodman told Reuters yesterday that he had no objections to Venezuela’s discounted heating oil program and wished more companies would follow suit. Similarly, U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela, William Brownfield, said he applauds Venezuela’s position of condemning North Korea’s nuclear weapons test.

Energy Secretary Bodman said about Venezuela’s discount heating oil program, “I can’t find my way clear to object to Venezuela being charitable.” To him, it is "a charitable contribution and I wish more companies did it."

Ever since last winter, Venezuela has been providing heating oil at up to 40% discount to poor communities in 17 states of the U.S. Last year it provided 40 million gallons of discounted heating oil and this year the program has been expanded to 100 million gallons, to benefit 1.2 million people. The program is being carried out in a cooperative effort between the Venezuelan owned Citgo Corporation and a wide variety of U.S. community groups.

Bodman had expressed his support for the deal already late last year, when he said, "We view it, as corporate philanthropy. We’re all for that. Nobody in the Energy Department, or in the government for that matter, is going oppose that. If that’s what Mr. Chavez and his colleagues who own CITGO choose to do, I’m certainly not going to criticize,” Bodman told CNN last Dec. 9.

Last year, when heating oil costs were sky-rocketing, the Bush administration had sent out letters to oil companies, asking them to help ease the cost of heating oil in winter. The only company to respond to the call was Venezuela’s Citgo. Some commentators and politicians, though, are re-considering their support for the program because of President Chavez’s reference to President Bush as "the devil" during last month’s opening of the 61st UN General Assembly in New York.

Emphasis added.

I love how Bodman spins it as “corporate philanthropy”; well, whatever floats his boat. If it salves his capitalistic conscience to call it that, who am I to say him nay? At least he’s expressed approval, and made an attempt, however backhanded, to shame other corporations into doing the decent thing. (I doubt they’ll step up to the plate–too busy wallowing in ill-gotten riches–but at least their greedy gaffe has been duly noted by the next-to-last person I’d expect to see doing so.)

Meanwhile, William Brownfield might soon find his ass recalled to Washington; he’s softened his own tone somewhat where Chavecito is concerned:

In another unlikely act of appreciation, the U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela, William Brownfield, said today that he applauds the Venezuelan government’s position condemning North Korea’s atomic weapons test.

According to Brownfield, Venezuela’s position "coincides with the position of the rest of the international community in condemning this nuclear test."

So even Chavecito’s foes have managed to swallow a lump of humble pie. Let’s hope it sticks to their ribs.

Now, Gov. Murkowski–how’s about you bellying up for a slice? You look to me like you could use one.

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