Sunday, December 6, 2009

Last Call

I leave you tonight with Mike Tidwell's op-ed in the WaPo:

All who appreciate the enormity of the climate crisis still have a responsibility to make every change possible in their personal lives. I have, from the solar panels on my roof to the Prius in my driveway to my low-carbon-footprint vegetarian diet. But surveys show that very few people are willing to make significant voluntary changes, and those of us who do create the false impression of mass progress as the media hypes our actions.

Instead, most people want carbon reductions to be mandated by laws that will allow us to share both the responsibilities and the benefits of change. Ours is a nation of laws; if we want to alter our practices in a deep and lasting way, this is where we must start. After years of delay and denial and green half-measures, we must legislate a stop to the burning of coal, oil and natural gas.

Of course, all this will require congressional action, and therein lies the source of Obama's Copenhagen headache. To have been in the strongest position to negotiate a binding emissions treaty with other world leaders this month, the president needed a strong carbon-cap bill out of Congress. But the House of Representatives passed only a weak bill riddled with loopholes in June, and the Senate has failed to get even that far.

So what's the problem? There's lots of blame to go around, but the distraction of the "go green" movement has played a significant role. Taking their cues from the popular media and cautious politicians, many Americans have come to believe that they are personally to blame for global warming and that they must fix it, one by one, at home. And so they either do as they're told -- a little of this, a little of that -- or they feel overwhelmed and do nothing.

We all got into this mess together. And now, with treaty talks underway internationally and Congress stalled at home, we need to act accordingly. Don't spend an hour changing your light bulbs. Don't take a day to caulk your windows. Instead, pick up a phone, open a laptop, or travel to a U.S. Senate office near you and turn the tables: "What are the 10 green statutes you're working on to save the planet, Senator?"
The cost to implement such legislation will be significant.  The cost of not doing so will literally be orders of magnitude worse. In the end, without strong and binding legislation, we're done for.  This is the reality.

Food for thought this evening.

Public Flop-Tion

Everything you need to know about this weekend's Senate debate on the public option is summed up by TNR's Jacob Hacker:
In short, the new compromise proposals are anything but. They represent calls for advocates of the public plan to eat their crumbs and be happy. But a majority of Senators support the public plan. At least two--Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and Senator Burris of Illinois--have said having a real public plan in the legislation is a precondition for their support. Those who believe in the public plan—and, more important, who believe in the principle it embodies: that no American who lacks access to good insurance should be forced to buy coverage from the private plans that got us into our present mess--should stand firm in the face of these non-compromises.
This includes President Obama. He made the public plan part of his promise of change in 2008. Now he needs to put his weight and influence behind the public plan and its essential goals, rather than allow them to be gutted. This is in our nation’s interest. It is also in his and his party’s political interest. A bill that forces people to take private insurance but doesn’t create competition or a public benchmark is a prescription for unaffordable coverage, runaway costs, and political backlash. The “middle ground” is nowhere to stand if it’s going to crumble beneath you.
Bottom line: the Senate "Sensible Centrists" are going to do to the public option what they did to the Stimulus package.  This time a lot more is at stake.  In the end, Obama has to push for a real public option, or it will not happen.

What will happen is our last, best chance to right the ship will be lost for good.  How much did your premiums go up this November when you re-enrolled in your company's health care plan? Five percent?  Seven?  Ten?  More?

What will another decade of cost increases like that do to America?  Because that's what we're looking at unless we get a public option.

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

This week's Bobblespeak Translations are particularly good.

The Crooks Behind Climategate

People are starting to ask the right questions about the whole Climategate mess, that is, who stole the e-mails in the first place and why is there all of a sudden a concerted effort to go after climate scientists.  Brian Angliss at Scrogues has more...
Update: The UK Daily Mail has a story about the possibility that the Russian state security services (FSB) may have been behind the CRU hack.
According to the National Post, criminals impersonated network technicians and tried to break into the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and gain access to the network servers. This follows many break ins and burglaries at the University of Victoria where papers were rifled through and where a dead computer was stolen.

Brad Johnson at The Wonk Room is following this story, as is Kevin Grandia at DeSmogBlog.

It’s too early to say whether these attacks on CCCM and the UofVictoria are related to the illegal release personal emails from the Climate Research Unit, but the timing is certainly curious. In my experience, two incidents can be coincidence, but if another one or two pop up, it’s likely that we have a coordinated campaign against climate science.
Over at Angry Bear, Noni is also asking what the bigger picture is here:
The Climate Change memos have opened up some interesting questions. Like, who are the thieves, and when will we see them in court? And if the thieves are shown to be employees of Big Oil or Big Coal, are the Bigs profiting from this crime? The proceeds of crime can be seized by the government -- I will be interested to see how the amount of extra profit might be measured, and how a fungible asset is seized.

A criminal conviction might not be necessary, either. Wiki tells us: "In civil forfeiture cases, the US Government sues the item of property, not the person; the owner is effectively a third party claimant. Once the government establishes probable cause that the property is subject to forfeiture, the owner must prove on a "preponderance of the evidence" that it is not. The owner need not be judged guilty of any crime."

If the data thieves don't end up in court, then does this mean e-mail archives in general are fair game for worldwide publication?

We've been told that there is no real privacy on the Internet -- what if it's true? "If you could read anyone's complete email archives, completely safe from legal punishment, which archives would those be?" The question is bound to bring a dreamy expression to the thoughtful person's face. It's even rather Biblical: Luke 12:3 "Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops." Hackers, start your engines.
Definitely food for thought.  When considering what's going on here, you have to take into account the decades of energy companies and business interests who have tried to bury climate change science by any means necessary.  We're just seeing a far more aggressive stage of the war that's been fought for a very long time now.

I'll See Your EPIC FAIL And Raise You A Debbie Schlussel

Thanks to good ol' StarStorm in the comments, we learn that the Wingers refuse to give up on the fantasy that Brave Tedd Petruna Saved America from another 9/11.  Remember, AirTran says Tedd Petruna was never on AirTran Flight 297, but given the fact that a passenger manifest is a legal document that all airlines are required to have for each flight, Debbie Schlussel doubles down on her stupid by saying AirTran is lying and it's a hooooooge conspiracy!
It’s no surprise that AirTran, the TSA, and other authorities are circling the wagons and claiming that Petruna’s and, now, Dr. Robinson’s, accounts aren’t true. That’s what they always do. Attack the messenger to block the truth. But I believe Petruna and, now, Robinson. AirTran and the authorities have every motivation to lie. They acted in the best interests of . . .? Well, certainly not their passengers.
As we know, authorities think we shouldn’t know about these things. They don’t want us to panic or to be suspicious of Muslims, when they’re busy doing outreach over shawarmeh at “Ahmed’s Falafel Hut.” But I had the same experience when Detroit Metro Airport police told me a bomb was found on a Northwest flight, which was evacuated, and Northwest denied it. Or when Muslim men were on a Northwest flight from Detroit to Los Angeles and DHS released a report that was mostly redacted (because if it’s redacted, it didn’t happen, right?).

As I told you, prominent Tennessee-based radio talk show host, Steve Gill, conducted a lengthy, in-depth interview with Dr. Robinson, who confirmed everything Mr. Petruna wrote in his e-mail about what happened on that flight.  Reader H.O. transcribed Steve’s interview, which I’d like you to read.  Steve gave me permission to post that transcription here.  Steve is no lightweight or fringe conspiracy theorist.  He’s a major talk radio host in the South (as well as an attorney, professor, and former White House fellow) and asks the tough questions. And his show is nationally syndicated on radio stations across the country.
And what follows is the crackpot theory that America's airlines and the TSA are systematically and categorically hiding evidence that terrorists are doing dry runs for another 9/11, being covered up by Obama because he's the 13th Imam or the Kwisatz Haderach or The One Who Will Bring Balance To The Force or Inkheart or something.

And of course, Red State not only agrees, but wants to be packing heat on planes so that we can shoot Raghead Sunzabitches first and screw the questions, man.  Because nothing bad could possibly happen by giving demonstrably crazy people firearms on an airplane.

Everything with these idiots always comes back to "Because Obama is pure evil, the only thing that can save us is more guns."

Steven D at BooMan Tribune has more.

Everyone Hates Obama

WaPo's Dana Milbank steps up to the Village Karaoke machine, sings the Village Theme Song, "Everybody Hates Obama Now" and waits for the applause.
Even before the surge announcement, support among liberals for Obama's Afghanistan policy had dropped 22 points since July, to 59 percent from 81 percent, according to a Post-ABC News poll. Overall liberal support for Obama had drifted down to 80 percent from 94 percent in the spring -- and, given the noisy complaints from the left last week, that number seems likely to fall further.

It was bound to happen eventually. Obama had become to his youthful supporters a vessel for all of their liberal hopes. They saw him as a transformational figure who would end war, save the Earth from global warming, restore the economy -- and still be home for dinner. They lashed out at anybody who dared to suggest that Obama was just another politician, subject to calculation, expediency and vanity like all the rest.

Certainly, Obama gets some blame for encouraging the messianic cult as he stumped for change and hope. "I am asking you to stop settling for what the cynics say we have to accept," he would say as he wrapped up speeches. "Let us reach for what we know is possible: A nation healed. A world repaired. An America that believes again."

In other cases, Obama truly has gone back on campaign vows. Even some of his advisers are disappointed that he has moved so slowly to close the Guantanamo Bay prison. Civil libertarians are justifiably disappointed with his decision to continue much of the Bush administration secrecy. Clean-government types are understandably frustrated that Obama vowed that lobbyists "will not get a job in my White House" but now grants waivers so that lobbyists can work in key administration jobs.

But at least as much blame for the disillusionment goes to progressives who simply expected too much of him. Some are disappointed that the Nobel Peace Prize winner proposed even higher defense spending than George W. Bush did -- but Obama never said he would cut the Pentagon's budget. Many liberals are disappointed that he isn't pushing the "public option" more forcefully in the health-care debate -- but it was never something Obama emphasized during the campaign.
"So yeah, how's your hero with feet of clay NOW, stupid Dirty F'ckin Hippies?  Obama's worse than Bush!  Hur hur hur SUCK IT!"

To which I reply "yes, because Obama went from 89% to 21% approval ratings like Bush did, and 9/11 happened on his watch, and Obama got us into two wars and never got anything passed in Congress and never once signed an executive order like Bush could do at will."

It's nice to know that even a year later, the Village is still pushing the "Cult of Obama" meme to the Church Of People Who Think Obama Is Really Darth Hitler Satan Riding Jormungandr.  Irony detection is the first thing that goes when you get inside the beltway.

Then again the real brainwashed cult around here is the Village, folks.
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