Look who woke up and is presently smelling the coffee: it's The Washington Post.

The sign of this end of slumber is in an editorial in Wednesday's paper, which — of all things — announces that the longstanding federal ban on offshore drilling for oil in this country is outdated and Congress should act to modify or repeal it.

I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw it this morning. It looked like something I'd written about drilling in ANWR.

There is a lot of oil in ANWR, but there's a lot offshore too and it's been off limits for some time now.

In fact, there is a vote in the House on Thursday about lifting this ban and The Post says it should pass.

In fact, The Washington Post says offshore drilling is good. More than that: It's safe; we need the oil; it hasn't hurt Britain or Norway (both of which are exploiting their offshore resources), and The Post says our ban is outdated.

Wow.

It makes you wonder if some hacker managed to get into The Washington Post computers and ran a joke editorial just to see if anybody notices. You should see the reasons for more offshore drilling the paper cites: less local drilling means more incoming traffic from tankers and, Lord knows, they sometimes wreck and spill.

In fact, The Post says the oil industry's safety record is impressive. They're right, it is and it's about time a mainstream media outlet said so. At one point The Post editorial says the prohibition on offshore extraction of oil "cannot be justified."

Double wow.

"Cannot be justified"? Does The Sierra Club know that The Washington Post has gone over to the dark side? What's next: throw the caribou under the bus and drill in ANWR?

One can hope. And who knows, maybe common sense in newspapers is contagious and maybe somebody will sneeze on The New York Times.

It couldn't hurt.

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