I'm thinking this is actually a big problem with democracy. Seriously. It stems from my recent experiences at the Re-Energize America panel in Orlando.

We had just finished the panel and moved into the question-and-answer session. Since nobody had spoken about EVs, I figured I'd ask about my pet project: Electric Parking. Several people got up and rushed to the podium, so I knew they had agendas. I just didn't realize what we were in for.

The first one rambled across several topics before landing in "Thermos bottles hold heat really well; why don't we just build all the houses like Thermos bottles?" Of course, there's only one real scientist in the panel, and there's no way to explain to a crazy why his idea is crazy. So they handle him carefully, telling him that they've improved insulation standards every year, and they're still working on it.

The next guy isn't crazy, in my opinion. I make the distinction based on how long they take to get to their point, how many irrelevant things they say along the way, and how offensively they finally state their question. This guy was concerned that we would use nuclear power to make up any of the 75TW we were projected to need by 2014. The panel explained that we needed to consider power sources based on their total long-term impact, and that their pie-chart was made up of natural gas plants because they can actually be built, unlike nuclear plants.

About this time I noticed that the line was done growing, checked with my ride to see if he could wait, got in line, and started to write my question on my Clie. The senator had to leave, but people kept shaking his hand and talking with him, so I figured he might actually be around when I asked my question. IF the next two people were fast enough.

Of course not. The next crazy rambled, then asserted that we weren't addicted to oil, but rather war, and how were we going to break our addiction to war? OMG. Of course the panel had to handle that very carefully.

And then they noticed the line had grown behind me. They said they'd take one more question, then meet in the antechamber to talk with people individually.

Rats. Of course, after observing all this, I had to wonder if I'm one of the crazies. I don't think so, but how can I be sure? I know: I'll ask the Internet! Read the question I would've asked, and help me decide if I should voluntarily remove myself from the political process.

My name is Jude Anthony, I live in Oviedo, and I recently converted a gas car to electric power. My car will get me back and forth to work, but discharging the batteries this deeply reduces their lifespan drastically. I need charging at work to make the most of my electric car.

When plug-in hybrids arrive, they'll need it, too. Florida supplies no other signifcant incentives to support green drivers, but we could take useful action by legislating that parking lots must include electric outlets for chargin, much in the way that we require spaces for the handicapped.

Electric cars are here now; hydrogen cars are years away. An Electric Parking project would do more, immediately, than the Hydrogen Highway will do in the future. I'm not asking for a free ride: I'm willing to pay for my elecricity, for instance, with a sticker or metering. But availability of charging at any destination will go a long way to making electric cars more acceptable to the general public.

So, how crazy am I? Stone sane or mad cow?