Posts filed under 'Environment'

Insane Disturbing Stat Of The Day

In case you need more proof of just how completely unhinged and, well, kind of evil Republicans are…

We have some new national polling coming out tomorrow on offshore drilling. The most astounding number from the poll? 28% of Republicans said the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico made them more likely to support drilling off the coast to an equal 28% who said it made them less likely to be supportive. 44% said it made no difference to them and that’s understandable, but why would an oil spill make you more supportive of drilling?

The only two explanations I can think of are:

1) “Fuck you, liberals!  Anything that drives them this crazy must be a good thing.”

2) “Now that I’ve seen the offshore drilling worst-case scenario… it’s not so bad, really.  Losing an entire coastline every once in a while seems like an acceptable risk to me.”

(h/t Michael Whitney)

2 comments May 11th, 2010 at 11:26am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Energy,Environment,Polls,Republicans,Wankers

No! Really?

What?  Outrage over the BP disaster won’t lead to meaningful reform?

No one could have anticipated…

May 10th, 2010 at 07:01am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Energy,Environment,Politics,Wankers

Wow, It’s Like Deja Vu

So let me see… willful lack of government oversight enables risky and negligent practices, which inevitably lead to a massively devastating and costly catastrophe which everyone involved claims was completely impossible to foresee.

Why does this sound so familiar?

I guess the next step is a lot of tough talk and posturing about stronger regulations by Congress and Obama, which will eventually get watered down to nothing more than window dressing after an all-out industry lobbying campaign.

3 comments May 6th, 2010 at 11:58am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Environment

Lindsey Takes His Ball And Goes Home

Lindsey Graham refuses to support the climate change bill that has his own name on it:

The effort to enact comprehensive climate and energy legislation this year suffered a critical blow Saturday when Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), the key Republican proponent of the bill, withdrew his support because of what he said was a “cynical political” decision by Democrats to advance immigration legislation first.

The move forced the other two authors of the climate and energy bill, Sens. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.), to cancel a much-anticipated news conference planned for Monday at which they were to unveil the plan they negotiated with Graham.

Graham, who spent weeks working with Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) on an immigration measure that will appeal to both parties, wrote in an open letter Saturday to leaders of the climate effort, “Moving forward on immigration — in this hurried, panicked manner — is nothing more than a cynical political ploy.”

I guess not everyone can be as noble and idealistic as the guy who co-authored an environmental bill that he doesn’t believe in.

April 26th, 2010 at 07:04am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Environment,Immigration,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Who Needs April Fools?

…When Republicans and Blanche Lincoln (but I repeat myself) are taking credit for healthcare reform?

…When the teabagger holding the (misspelled) N-word sign complains that teabaggers are being unfairly accused of racism?

…When anti-government militia members ask the government to provide them with defense counsel?

…When drug companies are investigating the FDA?

…When Tim Geithner laments how “deeply unfair” it is that all of the bailout’s benefits have gone to Wall Street?

…When a Democratic president embraces “Drill, Baby, Drill”?

April First is just another day now.

April 1st, 2010 at 11:34am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Obama,Politics,Racism,Republicans,Wankers

Whatever Happened To The Cheney Doctrine?

Peter Daou takes on the climate change deniers – I found this passage particularly compelling:

Another conservative writer goes on about “unsettled science,” as though we were engaging in a hypothetical legal exercise about the merits of reasonable doubt. In fact, this is our only planet. It’s the only place we can survive. We can’t afford to take chances. We can’t afford to do anything less than everything in our power to rectify the problem. We have no choice but to be alarmists — there’s no second chance. We get it wrong and we’ve doomed our children and their children. For what? Because we don’t want to recycle? Because we don’t want to stop polluting? Because we don’t want to bother making sacrifices? Because we don’t want some eager young kid who cares about the earth to dictate to us? Because we don’t like Al Gore? How profoundly selfish can someone be, to deny what they see with their own eyes: car fumes, bus fumes, truck fumes, factory fumes, chemical waste, human waste, toxins coursing through our waterways, in our food, filth we create in immense quantities turning our planet into a garbage dump.

If anything, we should be outdoing one another trying to address the issue, not smugly questioning the need for action under the guise that the science is imperfect. Reversing the damage we’re doing to the earth should be a priority for every citizen. Instead, environmentalism is treated like an annoyance that the media will occasionally poll about and that we bring to the fore once every April.

The right’s willingness to take the hugest of chances that global warming is junk science or some elaborate Al Gore hoax is particularly striking when you consider the Cheney Doctrine that they’re so enamored of:

Cheney defined it: “If there’s a 1% chance that Pakistani scientists are helping al-Qaeda build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response. It’s not about our analysis … It’s about our response.” Suskind writes, “So, now spoken, it stood: a standard of action that would frame events and responses from the Administration for years to come.”‘

Why such a heavy bias towards action on an improbable threat, and such a heavy bias against action on a much more probable and truly existential one?  Republicans embrace a 1% Doctrine on terrorism, yet it’s more like 99.9% when the fate of the entire planet is at stake.

If I didn’t know any better, I might almost think that their policy prescriptions aren’t really about protecting us from harm.

March 3rd, 2010 at 11:29am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Cheney,Environment,Politics,Republicans,Terrorism

Ignoring The Obvious

Al Gore and Michael Hiltzik speak the unspeakable truths about global warming and the healthcare industry industry.

But since they’re both advocating change that would not be profitable, Congress – especially the Senate – will continue to hide their heads in the sand until it’s too late.  Assuming it isn’t already.

March 1st, 2010 at 07:17am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Environment,Gore,Healthcare,Politics

Environmentalist Of The Year

Osama bin Laden, who is so committed to the cause of preventing climate change that he’s willing to try to bring down the United States to save the Earth.  Awesome.

Of course, if he really wanted to do something constructive for the planet, perhaps he could have refrained from doing everything humanly possible to guarantee George W. Bush a second term…

(Also, there’s the little detail that taking down the US wouldn’t actually stop global warming.)

January 30th, 2010 at 01:13pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Environment,Terrorism,Wankers

What I’ve Been Saying

Scarecrow has a great post about just how badly Obama and the Democrats have sold us out on healthcare, and how pathetic our supposed “reform” is when compared to the rest of the developed world, and Drew Westen decries Obama’s abject lack of leadership.  I think the root cause is the same: Our government has become so completely captive to corporate donors that it is literally almost impossible to pass any bill that might harm corporate interests in any way.

As I put it back in July:

As the increasingly discouraging healthcare “reform” process plays out, the endgame makes the most sense when you remember that the Prime Directive for Obama and most of Congress is this:

First, do no harm… to the insurance companies.

(…)

This is why single-payor is off the table (and how many of today’s public option advocates wouldn’t prefer single-payor if they thought it was attainable?) – it would kill the insurance industry outright (aside from the much smaller business of providing gap coverage), whereas a correctly managed (i.e., small or unsuccessful) public option would only wound them.

The fundamental problem is that the starting point has never been “How do we improve healthcare for our constituents?”, but rather, “How do we make sure this doesn’t hurt the insurance industry?”

And at FDL in August:

Need to slash greenhouse emissions to prevent the ice caps from melting?  You have to do it without hurting the energy companies.

Need to rescue the economy and reform the financial system?  You have to do it without hurting Wall Street.

Need to make healthcare affordable and available to everyone?  You have to do it without hurting the insurance companies.

Need to reform campaign finance?  You have to do it without diminishing the influence of the corporations or the advantages of incumbency.

It is virtually impossible to achieve meaningful reform within such nonsensical parameters.

I wish I could see a way out of this loop, but campaign finance (the primary source of the corruption) is inside it.

5 comments December 21st, 2009 at 01:03pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Economy,Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Obama,Polls,Wankers

We’re Outsourcing The Wrong Occupations

We need more journalists like that interviewer who almost made Dubya declare war on Ireland, or this reporter from Der Speigel:

Jim-Bo [Inhofe] was apparently surprised to learn that the rest of the world doesn’t dumb their reporters down enough to buy a load of crap like he was selling, because after he made his Republican paranoia jab at “Hollywood elite”, one reporter asked him if he were referring to Schwarzenegger, which he ignored. Darn them reporters. They’re supposed to nod in acquiescence whenever a skinned snake Republican points a finger! It worked for Bush.

And are you ready for the real treat? In response to Jim-Bo’s paranoid and inexplicable narrative, a disgusted reporter from Der Speigel shouted , “You’re ridiculous!”.

(…)

Ain’t it fun to go to places where the press don’t pretend up is down and down is up? And ain’t it great when they don’t suck the Republican lies dry in the retelling? Perhaps some countries learned the dangers of coddling nut jobs and selling propaganda the hard way. Oh, America, I fear for you.

(…)

Apparently flying into Copenhagen to announce that there is no global warming, providing no science to support your position, and avoiding the question by pointing fingers at “Hollywood elites” doesn’t carry as much water in some places as as it does here, in the land of the free.

*wistful sigh*

Just imagine how different the world might be – not just America, but the entire world – if we had a tough, skeptical, reality-based professional press corps like other countries have.

December 18th, 2009 at 01:24pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Environment,Media,Republicans

Using Karl’s Trick To Hide The Consensus

I admit, I haven’t been following this ridiculous global warming pseudoscandal very closely – it was immediately obvious that it was yet another manufactroversy where a whole bunch of conservative politicians and pundits wave around a pair of threes like they just got a royal flush.  Josh has a staggeringly comprehensive and awesome rundown at EnviroKnow, and I have to say that his first point gave me some serious deja vu:

1. The scientific consensus that humans are responsible for climate change — and that we must stabilize concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases at 350 parts per million — remains overwhelming. This latest cybercrime and the private emails it revealed do nothing whatsoever to change that.

(…)

Chris Mooney at the Intersection observes that these emails don’t actually imply anything substantive about climate science:

Let’s say, just for the sake of argument, that all of the worst and most damning interpretations of these exposed emails are accurate. I don’t think this is remotely true, but let’s assume it.

Even if this is the case, it does not prove the following:

1) The scientists whose emails have been revealed are representative of or somehow a proxy for every other climate scientist on the planet.

2) The studies that have been called into questions based on the emails (e.g., that old chestnut the “hockey stick”) are somehow the foundations of our concern about global warming, and those concerns stand or fall based on those studies.

Neither one of these is true, which is why I can say confidently that “ClimateGate” is overblown–and which is why I’ve never been impressed by systematic attacks on the “hockey stick.” Even if that study falls, we still have global warming on our hands, and it’s still human caused.

Hmm, Republicans pretending that questions about the authenticity of one nonessential part of an otherwise overwhelmingly slam-dunk case invalidate the whole entire edifice of evidence?  Where have we heard that before?  Oh, that’s right – because a couple of memos might have been fakes (or reconstructions), that must mean that Dubya didn’t pull strings to get out of Vietnam, and didn’t walk out of his ANG commitment a year early.

Yep, the right is using the exact same strategy they used -successfully – to defuse Dubya’s military service timebomb.  But the reason that worked was that CBS folded, forcing Rather to apologize and essentially retract the entire story, rather than simply pointing out that it was never based on the memos, and was therefore not invalidated by the memos.

Of course, CBS was compromised and probably actively working to sabotage Rather – presumably the scientific community will not do the same.  It also doesn’t hurt that the progressive blogosphere is so much bigger now too, so the pushback should be a lot stronger.

My gut feeling is that this will blow over and do no lasting damage.  But not all by itself.

3 comments November 25th, 2009 at 09:33pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Environment,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

McCaskill: Congress Is Only Supposed To Do Easy Popular Things

Well, this is certainly inspiring:

Senate Majority Leader Reid Tuesday said Democrats will try to move a climate and energy bill early next year as part of a larger effort to address the economy.

“We’re going to try to do that sometime in the spring,” Reid said about the climate bill.

(…)

Some senators are skeptical lawmakers will be ready to tackle another huge issue after finishing health care. “After you do one really, really big, really, really hard thing that makes everybody mad, I don’t think anybody’s excited about doing another really, really big thing that’s really, really hard that makes everybody mad,” Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said. “Climate fits that category.”

Yes, apparently Congress has an allotment of one Big Difficult Thing per year.  That would certainly explain why they were so cautious and incrementalist during the Bush Era, right?

3 comments November 19th, 2009 at 11:36am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Environment,Politics,Quotes,Wankers

What’s The Opposite Of Defamation?

And can you really sue for it?

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce filed a civil complaint on Monday against members of a liberal activist group who staged a news conference to falsely announce that the 3 million-member business federation had reversed its stance on climate change legislation.

(…)

As part of its hoax on Oct. 19, Yes Men announced at the National Press Club that the chamber would stop lobbying against the Senate’s 800-page climate bill. Reuters moved a story based on the false press release, and both CNBC and Fox Business Network reported it – with the anchors correcting themselves mid-story upon learning it was false.

I know, the lawsuit is more about trademark violation, but I think it’s hilarious and a little surreal that the Chamber is suing the Yes Men for trying to make them look like they weren’t complete amoral assholes for one day.

October 27th, 2009 at 09:35pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Constitution,Environment,Republicans,Wankers

Wanker Of The Day

Chris Packham:

“Here’s a species that, of its own accord, has gone down an evolutionary cul-de-sac,” Packham told Radio Times magazine.

Packham believes that money spent on conserving the panda would be better invested in other animals as the species is not strong enough to survive alone.

“It’s not a strong species. Unfortunately it’s big and cute and it’s a symbol of the WWF (Worldwide Fund for Nature) — and we pour millions of pounds into panda conservation,” he added.

“I reckon we should pull the plug. Let them go, with a degree of dignity …”

(…)

Packham, who is president of Britain’s Bat Conservation Trust and vice-president of the Wildlife Trusts, also saw a grim outlook for endangered tigers.

“I don’t think tigers are going to last another 15 years,” he said. “How can you conserve an animal that is worth more dead than alive? You can’t.”

Um, isn’t the whole point of conservation to protect species that would otherwise go extinct?  And while it’s true that pandas are the anti-cockroach, they were doing just fine until humans destroyed their primary habitat, so they’re evidently not quite the abject evolutionary failures that Packham says they are (and most certainly not “of [their] own accord”).

September 23rd, 2009 at 01:14pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Environment,Wankers

Why Can’t The Democrats Be More Like Cheney?

Yes, I know it sounds insane, but consider this:

John P. Hannah, Cheney’s second-term national security adviser, said the former vice president is driven, now as before, by the nightmare of a hostile state acquiring nuclear weapons and passing them to terrorists. Aaron Friedberg, another of Cheney’s foreign policy advisers, said Cheney believes “that many people find it very difficult to hold that idea in their head, really, and conjure with it, and see what it implies.”

Substitute, say, the recession, or global warming, or the healthcare crisis in the place of rogue nukes, and ask yourself how many Democrats in positions of power have that same sense of urgency and passion, that same sense that the problem must be addressed uncompromisingly and damn the political consequences because it’s That Important?  In other words, how many Democrats understand that the stakes are too high for their usual halfassitude to be enough?

Sure, in Cheney’s case, his particular mania is paranoid and insane, and has taken him down a very dark path, but I’m pretty sure that, say, an all-out drive to truly fix healthcare or the environment would not inevitably lead to constitutional abuses, torture chambers, or even death panels.

August 13th, 2009 at 05:36pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Cheney,Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Economy,Environment,Healthcare,Obama,Politics

Ignoramus Of The Month

James Inhofe:

People complain that we are buying — importing from the Middle East — oil and gas. And then they find out that we have it all right here. We don’t have to do that. If their argument there is “Well, we don’t want to use oil and gas because we think it pollutes” — which it doesn’t — but if that’s their argument, then why are we willing to import it from Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East?

W.T.F.

July 28th, 2009 at 06:49am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Energy,Environment,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Unfortunate Word Choice Of The Day

From < responding to Gregg Easterbrook’s clean coal cheerleading:

Any United States energy policy for the next 50 to 100 years needs to include a strong dose of nuclear energy.

Um, I think that’s what we’re trying to avoid, actually…

July 6th, 2009 at 11:19am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Energy,Environment

Obama Administration Continues The Real “Bush Doctrine”

No, not the Bush Doctrine about how invading countries for no good reason is Teh Awesome, I’m talking about the one that’s like the Peter Principle on steroids, where incompetence and criminality are rewarded with money and advancement instead of scorn, unemployment, or jail time.  Chris Bowers spells it out:

The past year has revealed a comprehensive philosophy of government championed by conservatives and moderates when they oppose major progressive economic reforms. I call it “crime and reward.” The philosophy is summed up as follows:

The flaw in progressive legislative proposals is that they don’t give enough money to the corporations that caused the problem(s) which overall legislative effort is supposedly trying to solve.

It applies in all major cases. Check it out:

1. The way to lower health care costs is to give companies that have increased health care costs even more money….

2. The way to fix climate change is to give the companies that are the main cause of climate change even more money….

3. The way to fix the financial crisis is to give the financial institutions that caused the financial crisis even more money….

On the three major areas of public policy that were addressed by the federal government over the last twelve months–health care, climate change, financial crisis–the “moderate” solution has consistently been to give hundreds of billions of dollars to the corporations that caused climate change, the financial crisis, and skyrocketing health care costs. It is a crime and reward ideology. When powerful private sector companies cause major national and global problems, the “moderate” solution is to give those who caused the problem hundreds of billions of dollars.

Crime and reward. Through a conservative-moderate alliance, it is the system of government under which we live, even in the era of the Democratic trifecta.

On the other hand, maybe it only looks like a “reward.”  Maybe it would be more accurate to say that this is just another demonstration of the criminals’ continuing ability to call the shots, just as they have for the previous eight years, and probably much longer.

Regardless of the cause, it’s a compelling illustration of just how broken and corrupt our political system has become when placing the public good over the corporate good becomes impossible, if not unthinkable.

July 2nd, 2009 at 06:56pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Economy,Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Obama,Politics,Wankers

John Tierney, Unconcern Troll

Shorter John Tierney: We don’t have to worry about reducing carbon emissions, it’ll just magically take care of itself because we’ll all be rich!

…Or something.

April 21st, 2009 at 07:05am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Energy,Environment,Media,Republicans,Science,Wankers

Michelle Obama’s Garden Not Toxic Enough

Chemicals are Teh Awesome!!!

Michelle Obama planted an organic garden to promote fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet, but some chemical companies are worried it may plant a seed of doubt in consumers’ minds about conventionally grown crops.

“Fresh foods grown conventionally are wholesome and flavorful yet more economical,” the Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) wrote the first lady last month a few days after she and fifth-graders from a local elementary school planted the White House Kitchen Garden.

The garden is designed to produce fresh fruits and vegetables for the first family and White House staff and guests. The garden itself doesn’t give the group heartburn. The letter also congratulates the first lady “on recognizing the importance of agriculture to America!”

But MACA, which represents agribusinesses like Monsanto, Dow AgroSciences and DuPont Crop Protection, is rather less thrilled about the fact that no chemicals will be used to grow the crops. The group is worried that the decision may give consumers the wrong impression about conventionally grown food.

“We live in a very different world than that of our grandparents. Americans are juggling jobs with the needs of children and aging parents,” the letter states. “The time needed to tend a garden is not there for the majority of our citizens, certainly not a garden of sufficient productivity to supply much of a family’s year-round food needs.”

Oh noes!  Michelle Obama’s organic garden will make the chemical companies look bad!  Methinks the Monsantos doth protest too much.

April 10th, 2009 at 09:51pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Environment,Obama,Wankers

Could This Work?

I sure hope so, ‘cuz it sounds way cool.  Basically, it’s an electric car plan where you buy everything but the battery, and there’s an infrastructure with not just charging stations, but switching stations, where you can get  a low battery swapped out quickly and completely rather than waiting for it to charge up.

I’m rooting for ’em, but I have no idea if it’s really feasible, especially on a national scale.  That’s a lot of charging and switching stations to build, and they don’t even have a car yet.

March 26th, 2009 at 06:50am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Energy,Environment,Technology

Michael Steele Continues To Be Hilarious

This guy is a comedic genius! He’s like the Andy Kaufman of the Republican Party or something.

Two weeks ago, amidst concern that Michael Steele’s media exposure was creating serious political damage, the RNC chairman decided to guest-host William Bennett’s national conservative radio program.

(…)

“I love this battle because what I see right now is leading to the ultimate political Armageddon between conservatism and liberalism,” Steele declared at one point. “And the idea that free enterprise, free markets, free people are going to battle an oppressive, repressive, domineering government. I love that. That’s what we are lining up for you folks. So you better get ready, strap it on, because it’s coming. And you better pick your sides, you better choose now.”

(…)

“I’m going to tell you something,” Steele replied. “You make such an important point, because I had a conversation earlier this week about the very point you just made about the Nixon administration. What you are seeing here, folks, unfold is nothing short of the Nixon administration played out in a different era and a different style. But the results and the effects are the same. You have H.R. Haldeman and Rahm Emanuel, these guys, the master manipulators, the master controllers in the background, moving and shaking the pieces, creating an enemies list, putting together the targets on our side. The whole strategy of demonizing Rush Limbaugh, which has been exposed now…”

(…)

“Education is key,” said the RNC Chair. “It is where it begins, for all of us… If we understand the difference between Marxism, socialism and capitalism; if we understand the difference between a Roberto Mussolini, an Adolf Hitler, and a Franklin Roosevelt, and his honor the honorable Winston Churchill, if we know those differences than we can appreciate what these times mean. And how history is a precursor of things to come.”

But this is my favorite, this is absolutely brilliant:

And when a listener scoffed at the notion of global warming, Steele eagerly ran with the baton.

“Thank you, thank you,” he said. “We are cooling. We are not warming. The warming you see out there, the supposed warming, and I am using my finger quotation marks here, is part of the cooling process. Greenland, which is now covered in ice, it was once called Greenland for a reason, right? Iceland, which is now green. Oh I love this. Like we know what this planet is all about. How long have we been here? How long? No very long.”

AWESOME.

1 comment March 17th, 2009 at 06:31pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Environment,Politics,Quotes,Republicans

Pokerface Fail

The greens aren’t exactly playing it cool about the stimulus…

The stimulus package about to be passed by Congress is one of the biggest spending bills in US history, and environmentalists are crowing that they got a decent share. Roughly $60 billion of the $789 billion package will be devoted to spending on clean energy, environmental projects, and scientific research. “Overall, this will be by far the biggest investment in new green technologies that we’ve ever seen from the federal government,” says Gene Karpinski, head of the League of Conservation Voters. “And that’s good for our economy and for our environment.”

Details of the conference package released on Thursday show that spending on green causes did not decrease significantly in the process of creating a compromise bill. “I thought we fared pretty well,” says Marchant Wentworth, a legislative representative for the Union of Concerned Scientists. “Is it true that these are monster funding increases for everything green that we believe in? Yes it is.”

(…)

“This is unbelievable,” says Josh Dorner, a spokesman for Sierra Club. “This is an unprecedented investment in building a clean energy economy. The Clinton Global Initiative, about a year or so ago, their big challenge was to get spending on energy efficiency to reach $1.5 billion, total, in all of America. And this bill, just on federal buildings, has $4.5 billion. It’s just kind of sinking in that this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity, and Congress and President Obama really stepped up to the plate.”

Is it wise to be that obviously happy?  Shouldn’t they at least act disappointed so they can push for more funding later?  Greenpeace demonstrates how it’s done:

“We’re not impressed overall,” says Kert Davies, the research director for Greenpeace. “It seems in the prioritization of things, environmental matters got the short end of the stick.”

But Davies acknowledges that the stimulus is a way to “start the green economy and create green jobs.” He also sees the comprehensive climate change bill that Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, has promised to push through his committee by the end of May as another opportunity to get the country on the right track environmentally. “I don’t think it’s the last bite at the apple.”

That’s more like it.  Still, it’s hard to blame the greens for being a little giddy over a win, considering they basically just lived through eight years of continuous wedgies.

February 12th, 2009 at 07:23pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Energy,Environment,Politics

Clean Coal = More Coal

Apparently, making coal “clean” uses so much energy that you end up needing 25% more coal to compensate:

In fact, because carbon capture requires a roughly 25-percent increase in energy from the coal plant, about 25 percent more coal is needed, increasing mountaintop removal and increasing non-carbon air pollution from power plants, he said.

My question is, would that be considered a bug or a feature for the coal-producing states that the clean-coal gospel panders to?  I mean, not only does clean coal make coal magically okay, but it means coal consumers would have to buy 25% more of it.  It’s a win-win!

(Why yes, I am assuming that environmental impacts are not a consideration – why do you ask?)

(h/t kirk)

1 comment January 27th, 2009 at 10:27pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Energy,Environment,Politics,Science

The Econ Version Of Global Warming

Is anyone else feeling a bit of… deja vu?

During a Christmas Eve appearance on Fox News, I pointed out that most mainstream economists believe the government must boost the economy with deficit spending. That’s when conservative pundit Monica Crowley said we should instead limit such spending because President Franklin Roosevelt’s “massive government intervention actually prolonged the Great Depression.” Fox News anchor Gregg Jarrett eagerly concurred, saying “historians pretty much agree on that.”

Of course, I had recently heard snippets of this silly argument — right-wing pundits are repeating it everywhere these days. But I had never heard it articulated in such preposterous terms, so my initial reaction was paralysis — the mouth-agape, deer-in-the-headlights kind. Only after collecting myself did I say that such assertions about the New Deal were absurd. But then I was laughed at — as if it were hilarious to say that the New Deal did anything but exacerbate the Depression.

Afterwords, suffering pangs of self-doubt, I wondered whether I and most of the country are the crazy ones. Sure, the vast majority of Americans think the New Deal worked well. But are conservatives right? Did the New Deal’s “massive government intervention prolong the Great Depression?”

Ummm … no.

Upon deeper examination, I discovered that the right bases its New Deal revisionism on the short-lived recession in a year straddling 1937 and 1938. But that was four years into Roosevelt’s term — four years marked by spectacular economic growth. Additionally, the fleeting decline happened not because of the New Deal’s spending programs, but because Roosevelt momentarily listened to conservatives and backed off them. As Nobel-winning economist Paul Krugman notes, in 1937-38, FDR “was persuaded to balance the budget” and “cut spending and the economy went back down again.”

(…)

OK — if the verifiable evidence proves the New Deal did not prolong the Depression, what about historians — do they “pretty much agree” on the opposite?

Again, no.

As Newsweek’s Daniel Gross reports, “One would be very hard-pressed to find a serious professional historian who believes that the New Deal prolonged the Depression.”

So… conservative pundits are dead wrong about the facts, and are completely misrepresenting the scholarly consensus?  Does this sound uncannily familiar to anyone else?

2 comments January 5th, 2009 at 09:57pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Environment,Media,Politics,Republicans

Giant Chinese Snow Santa!

You heard me.

Giant Snow Santa

China’s freezing northern city of Harbin is building what organizers say is the world’s largest Santa Claus ice sculpture.

The giant Father Christmas, 160 meters (525 ft) long and 24 meters high, centers on an enormous face of Father Christmas, complete with flowing beard and hat.

(…)

Every year the city plays host to a world-renowned ice festival. But the effects of global warming are taking a toll as the snow and ice now melt more rapidly than in the past.

Organizers said they had to artificially make snow for the Santa Claus sculpture.

Still, the sculpture has attracted thousands of tourists from all over the country who want to enjoy a white Christmas despite worries over the economic downturn.

I think the war against global warming has just merged with the War On Christmas.  Talk about strange bedfellows.

December 30th, 2008 at 08:45pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Art/Architecture,Coolness,Environment,Weirdness

Why Is My Air Conditioning On???

It’s almost 70 degrees!  Two days after Christmas!  In PITTSBURGH!  I mean, what the hell???

Hey, if the global warming deniers can crow about how climate change is all just a great big scam every time it frickin’ snows, then surely we can raise the alarm when it’s shirtsleeve weather at the end of December, right?

December 27th, 2008 at 04:17pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Environment,Weirdness

Am I Getting Too Paranoid?

Quite frankly, I only trust the Democratic leadership a tiny bit more than I trust the GOP, so maybe I’m reading too much into this:

Getting on the House Ways and Means Committee isn’t easy. Some lawmakers spend years demonstrating their case to leadership, showing their fund-raising prowess and building a legislative record.

And there’s no better time to be a committee Democrat than now — unless, apparently, you’re Raul M. Grijalva.

The Arizona Democrat did the unthinkable Tuesday, declining a Ways and Means seat that he had won just last week, giving up the chance to shape tax, trade and health-care policy in the 111th Congress.

In a statement, Grijalva said the spot on the exclusive panel would have forced him to give up his chairmanship of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands on the House Committee on Natural Resources. There, he plans to continue working on issues such as preventing uranium mining in the Grand Canyon.

Public lands are “where his passion lies,” spokeswoman Natalie Luna said.

She said Grijalva did not seek the coveted Ways and Means appointment this time around, although he did two years ago.

That’s in contrast to the usual pattern. Several of the other four Democrats who won Ways and Means seats — Brian Higgins of New York, Danny K. Davis of Illinois, John Yarmuth of Kentucky and Bob Etheridge of North Carolina — actively sought the job.

Okay, so – a progressive Democrat with a “passion” for protecting public lands gets offered a coveted Ways and Means seat that he didn’t even ask for… but the rules would require him to surrender the chair of his environmental subcommittee.  Does that sound fishy to anyone else but me?  Like maybe the party leadership didn’t want him chairing that subcommittee, but didn’t want to be obvious about it, so they tried to entice him into surrendering it voluntarily rather than preventing him from attaining it in the first place?

Is it time for me to don the Tinfoil Hat Of Shame?

1 comment December 17th, 2008 at 07:53am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Environment

Global Warming Denier And Milton Friedman Fan To Assume EU Presidency

Awesome.

Mr. Klaus, the 67-year-old president of the Czech Republic — an iconoclast with a perfectly clipped mustache — continues to provoke strong reactions. He has blamed what he calls the misguided fight against global warming for contributing to the international financial crisis, branded Al Gore an “apostle of arrogance” for his role in that fight, and accused the European Union of acting like a Communist state.

Now the Czech Republic is about to assume the rotating presidency of the European Union and there is palpable fear that Mr. Klaus will embarrass the world’s biggest trading bloc and complicate its efforts to address the economic crisis and expand its powers. His role in the Czech Republic is largely ceremonial, but he remains a powerful force here, has devotees throughout Europe and delights in basking in the spotlight.

(…)

An economist by training and a free marketeer by ideology, Mr. Klaus has criticized the course set by the union’s departing leader, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France. The ambitious Mr. Sarkozy has used France’s European Union presidency to push an agenda that includes broader and more coordinated regulation by the largest economies to tame the worst of the market’s excesses.

Even those who worry about Mr. Klaus’s potential role as a spoiler concede that his influence over policy in the European Union will be circumscribed, given his largely symbolic functions as president in the Czech Republic.

But Mr. Klaus’s sheer will and inflammatory talk — the eminent British historian Timothy Garton Ash once called him “one of the rudest men I have ever met” — are likely to have some impact.

“Klaus is a provocateur who will twist his arguments to get attention,” said Jiri Pehe, a former adviser to Vaclav Havel, Mr. Klaus’s rival and predecessor as president.

(…)

A fervent critic of the environmental movement, he has called global warming a dangerous “myth,” arguing that the fight against climate change threatens economic growth.

Perhaps his greatest ire has been reserved for the European Union. In 2005, he called for it to be “scrapped.” Now, he is a vocal opponent of the Lisbon Treaty, which aims to help Europe become more of an international player, but which he argues will strip countries of sovereignty.

(…)

Born in 1941, he obtained an economics degree in 1963 and was deeply influenced by free market economists like Milton Friedman.

(…)

Mr. Havel recalled in his memoirs that Mr. Klaus had an aversion “to the rest of us, whom he had clearly consigned to the same Dumpster, with a sign on it saying ‘left-wing intellectuals.’ ”

I really do hope that his powers are as limited as the story says – this guy sounds like seriously bad news.

Still, good thing Klaus wasn’t EU prez sooner – he and Dubya would have been like soulmates.

November 25th, 2008 at 06:46am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Environment,Foreign Policy,Politics

Gordon Smith Poisons His Constituents

And everyone else:

I just got a Sierra Club press release with some very gross information about Gordon Smith’s company, Smith Frozen Foods.  Apparently, Smith Frozen Foods started storing partially treated sewage from the town of Weston into his company’s wastewater pond in the 1980s, when Smith was directly controlling the company.  That’s fine, it’s what companies do when they have lots of land and the ability to handle partially treated sewage.  Here’s what’s not fine.

This water is then used to irrigate cropland, in violation of Department of Environmental Quality regulations.  A mutual agreement between Smith and the [Department of Environmental Quality] indicates that this irrigation likely violated state regulations.

There’s more.

On more than one occasion, Smith Frozen Foods, the company owned by Gordon Smith, has violated Oregon’s laws against having coliform bacteria in their drinking water.  The presence of coliform bacteria may indicate environmental contamination, fecal contamination or E. coli bacteria.

What is coliform bacteria?

Coliform bacteria are organisms that are present in the environment and in the feces of all warm-blooded animals and humans.

That is completely gross, but totally in character for Republicans.  Rick Perlstein has documented what he calls ‘e coli conservative’ policies has led to contamination of, among other foods, spinach, peanut butter, tomatoes, Taco Bell lettuce, mushrooms, pet food, and more.  You just don’t expect a Republican Senator to actually grow and sell these contaminants for millions of dollars (which he then used to stay in office).  Usually, it’s a little less direct than that, large agribusiness bribes the Republicans to do their bidding, and then these companies drop sewage into our food supplies.  I guess in these hard times, Gordon Smith has decided to cut out the middleman.

Most Republicans are content to peddle sewage metaphorically, but Gordo goes all-out.  He is literally telling us to eat shit and die.

October 23rd, 2008 at 07:18am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Elections,Environment,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

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