The Democrats' 9-11 Equivalent

If the 2006 elections were held in March or April instead of November, just about all any Democrat would have to do to win would be to buy 15 seconds of TV time and mutter three words--Iraq, Dubai, Katrina--then go home and plan the victory party.

Well, not really, but you get the idea. Unfortunately the election isn't till November, and the issue with the greatest staying power and most potential isn't either of the obvious ones: it's Katrina. It's the Democrats' 9-11.

Dubai may fade, Iraq may change, but Katrina is firmly fixed in the public mind.

Bushites have made shameless and effective political use of 9-11. But Democrats have not effectively focused on an equally powerful phenomenon, with its equally powerful associated images, that is ready-made to tell the tawdry story of Bush administration failure. The Democrats have Katrina. And it's about time they used it.

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Open Thread

Per a front page article in Friday's issue of The Washington Post:

Greenland's glaciers are melting into the sea twice as fast as previously believed, the result of a warming trend that renders obsolete predictions of how quickly Earth's oceans will rise over the next century, scientists said yesterday.

The new data come from satellite imagery and give fresh urgency to worries about the role of human activity in global warming. The Greenland data are mirrored by findings from Bolivia to the Himalayas, scientists said, noting that rising sea levels threaten widespread flooding and severe storm damage in low-lying areas worldwide.

The scientists said they do not yet understand the precise mechanism causing glaciers to flow and melt more rapidly, but they said the changes in Greenland were unambiguous -- and accelerating: In 1996, the amount of water produced by melting ice in Greenland was about 90 times the amount consumed by Los Angeles in a year. Last year, the melted ice amounted to 225 times the volume of water that city uses annually.

Likely Bush administration response: The data could mean that Los Angeles is using significantly less water than it was a decade ago...

What's on your mind this evening?

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Putting my TV up for auction on Ebay

I just don't need it anymore. It's my greatest source of anxiety in the house. My blood pressure will drop dramatically once it's gone. Corporate hacks, faux journalists and talkingheads will no longer have access to my living room. It'll be dark and peaceful when I fall asleep on the couch. My electric bill will decrease. No more venturing out in the middle of the night in a driving rainstorm to turn the antenna six inches to switch from NBC to CBS (It's the truth boys and girls: No cable out here in the hollers and I've never been willing to pay for a dish). Nothing but good things can happen from this.

So what happened to cause this revelation? Check it out below the fold.    

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A Real Plan B!

I just finished reading "Plan B 2.0." by Lester Brown. (which you can download free of charge here!) The book is amazing, not only in its simple explanation of the origins of many of our environmental problems, but in its ability to clearly - and convincingly - lay out the global implications if we fail to embrace an alternative to our fossil fuel based, disposable economy. We're running out of resources and poisoning the planet today, imagine the situation when countries like China and India achieve our rates of consumption and waste.

What set this book apart from the many books discussing the impending environmental collapse is that Brown presents a solution - a Plan B. As with his diagnosis of our problems, Brown succinctly explains an achievable alternative economic model based largely on innovative technologies and enlightened - yet shockingly pragmatic - policies.

While Brown is not a household name, he clearly has caught the eye of some of the world's more important players. Bill Clinton has praised the book, and Brown addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos last week.

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Jim Renacci and His Anti-Environmental Buddies

In Ohio's 16th Congressional District, Rep. John Boccieri(D) is being challenged by Jim Renacci (R).  Boccieri is an environmental champion who voted for the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) and who received a 93% League of Conservation Voters score in 2009.  In contrast, Jim Renacci erroneously believes that comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation, far from helping our economy, national security, and environment, would instead "amount to one of the largest taxes in American history, would cause electricity prices to skyrocket and would very likely bankrupt an enormous portion of our domestic energy industry."

While Renacci's anti-environmental views are not surprising, given the groups and individuals who support his candidacy, they are disturbing nonetheless. Let's look at a few of Renacci's key endorsements and sources of money.

Exhibit A: former House Majority Leader Dick Armey and his FreedomWorks PAC. According to FreedomWorks "Online War Room" against Cap and Trade legislation, the Kerry-Lieberman American Power Act – which NRDC correctly calls "a solid foundation for Senate legislation" - would actually "crush the economy" for "negligible environmental benefit." And FreedomWorks PAC director, Dick Armey (9% League of Conservation Voters rating, 1993-1999), calls global warming "an eco-evangelical hysteria going on and it leads me to almost wonder if we are becoming a nation of environmental hypochondriacs." In fact, climate scientists have overwhelmingly demonstrated that global warming is real, that it threatens our planet's ecosystems and human well being, and that it needs to be addressed forcefully – and soon – if we are to head off its worst effects.  What exactly about these scientific facts does FreedomWorks fail to understand?

Exhibit B: Murray Energy Corporation PAC, which has given Renacci $8,000.  As we have previously pointed out, this is a company that "wants to divert a pristine, high-quality stream from its course in Belmont County and transform the dry streambed into an artificial storage lake for billions of gallons of dirty coal slurry."  The company is headed by a man, Robert E. Murray, who has been "an outspoken critic of the scientific opinion on climate change," who says that climate science is "highly speculative," and who believes that people who care about the environment are "elitists" engaging in "'global goofiness' campaigns." Given all this, Murray Energy Corporation is certainly not the type of company that has any credibility on environmental issues.

Exhibit C: The Ohio Coal Association, which has given Renacci $1,250.  This is an organization which strongly supports stripping the EPA of its authority to limit carbon pollution, which questions climate science, and which links to an article which claims that "valley fill is a political myth."  To the contrary, climate science is all too real and valley fill is anything but a political myth.

Exhibit D:  The notoriously anti-environment energy company, Koch Industries, whose PAC has given Renacci $2,500.  According to Greenpeace, Koch has "quietly funneled [$50 million] to climate-denial front groups that are working to delay policies and regulations aimed at stopping global warming is no joking matter."  Koch also has a horrendous environmental record, including being fined "$30 million for its role in 300 oil spills that resulted in more than three million gallons of crude oil leaking into ponds, lakes, streams and coastal waters."  In sum, Koch is just about the last company in the world we should be listening to when it comes to protecting our environment.

The bottom line is this: with record global temperatures being set every month, with the polar ice caps melting, and with the urgent need to take action on global warming before it's too late, voters in Ohio's 16th Congressional District need to know where the candidates and their funders stand on this critical issue.



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