Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bearing Fruit & Fruitloops

QOTD, Paul Krugman:
Whenever you encounter “research” from the Heritage Foundation, you always have to bear in mind that Heritage isn’t really a think tank; it’s a propaganda shop. Everything it says is automatically suspect.

You should always remember:

1. Don’t believe anything Heritage says.

2. If you find what Heritage is saying plausible, remember rule 1.
More of this, please!
Think Progress: Whitehouse: Climate deniers are taken seriously only at ExxonMobil and in the Senate.

In the first Senate hearing today on clean energy legislation supported by President Barack Obama, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) compared the Senate to the “ExxonMobil board room.” Whitehouse expressed his concern that the United States would be left behind in the clean energy race, saying, “I do not want to see American industries at the back of that parade with a broom.” Addressing the Obama Cabinet members before him — Ken Salazar, Stephen Chu, Tom Vilsack, and Lisa Jackson — Whitehouse apologized for the denial of man-made climate change by his fellow senators:

We know that this is probably — along with the ExxonMobil board room — the last place that sober people debate whether or not these problems are real, but we intend to work with you anyway, and we hope to give you strong legislative support if we can.

Watch it:

ExxonMobil, the world’s largest company, is still directing money to climate-denial front groups, and has spent more than $9.3 million lobbying Congress this year alone. Sen. Whitehouse has previously noted the insidious influence of polluter spending on the Senate’s willingness to take the threat of climate change seriously.


Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) is still on his crusade over Alan Carlin, the global warming denier who works at the EPA as an economist, and whose "memo" about global warming was not taken seriously by actual climate scientists. It led to an interesting exchange this morning on Fox News between the right-wing senator and host Bill Hemmer.

INHOFE: Alan Carlin is a longtime 30-year employee, and he had access to the new science, which is really reversing a lot of the things that the scientific community thought were true ten years ago. They tried to suppress that. [...]

HEMMER: Here's what the EPA says, Senator. They say Carlin's not a scientist, he included no original research in his report, and none of it was solicited by the EPA. It sounded like it was a side-job on the side ... Do you see it that way?

INHOFE: No, I don't see it that way at all. This guy's been there for 30 years, Bill. I mean, you know, he's not some new guy that was there. That's his job.

Now, we already know that Carlin's cut-and-paste document wasn't "suppressed." The EPA's National Center for Environmental Economics allowed him to put together his memo, and it was reviewed by agency scientists.

But it's hard not to admire Inhofe's hysterical spin. What the senator can't quite wrap his head around is that the duration of Carlin's career is irrelevant. Whether Carlin has been an economist for 30 minutes or 30 years doesn't change the fact that he's not a climate scientist.

"That's his job"? Well, crunching numbers is Carlin's job. In this case, he went outside of his job to prepare "a ragbag collection of un-peer reviewed web pages, an unhealthy dose of sunstroke, a dash of astrology and more cherries than you can poke a cocktail stick at."

Inhofe, in other words, doesn't know what he's talking about. What a surprise.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is scheduled to speak to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works today, at which point Inhofe intends to throw a fit about Carlin's "report." Here's hoping someone briefed Jackson on the unhinged questions she's likely to receive from the Oklahoma Republican.

Yglesias: Waxman-Markey Bearing Fruit Abroad

No U.S. climate bill, no matter how tough, will really make a dent in global climate patterns on its own. Rather, the hope is that passage of a decent climate bill domestically will, like Europe’s earlier adoption of a cap-and-trade scheme, be part of an iterative international process moving toward an international accord and global action. And via Ryan Avent, some evidence from down under that it’s working. Per Reuters:

Australia’s emissions trading laws look more likely to pass a hostile Senate after U.S. Congressional support for a similar climate bill eroded political opposition in Australia to carbon trading.

One can only imagine that a bill that actually passes the Senate and gets signed by the President would do even more good. And of course this is a road that goes in multiple directions. Any positive action from the Chinese, even if mild, would make good climate measures more politically palatable in the U.S. and Europe. And the Chinese are, in turn, more likely to act when they see a more-or-less united West acting in good faith on this issue.

BarbinMD (DK): The New Terrorist Fist Jab

Subtle, eh?

And apparently the GOP's latest definition of a terrorist fist jab.

national review obama

Kurtz (TPM): Big Man on Campus

Alberto Gonzales lines up teaching gig for the fall.

Late Update: TPM Reader RS:

Please tell me there's at least one Texas Tech political science student with the guts to answer "I do not recall" to every test question. Maybe even "I do not recall remembering."

As the report I link above notes, Gonzo will be "teaching a 'special topics' course on contemporary issues in the executive branch."


MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski seems to be thoroughly annoyed by the fact that she was criticized yesterday for praising Sarah Palin for her popularity among "real Americans." Brzezinski went on to complain yesterday that some in the "mainstream media" don't agree with Palin, but "real" Americans do.

Brzezinski returned to the subject today, clearly feeling vindicated. She pointed to a Gallup poll, released yesterday, showing 39% of respondents saying they feel that they've become more conservative in recent years, while 18% have become more liberal, and 42% say their views haven't changed. Heralding the Gallup poll, Brzezinski told viewers, "I love this story."

I'm afraid Brzezinski still doesn't quite understand why what she said yesterday rubbed so many people the wrong way.

The problem was her insistence that Palin supporters are "real Americans." If you find Palin offensive, Brzezinski argued, you probably live in a place with "liberal elite populations," which aren't "representative of America." The message that Brzezinski delivered, which we've heard from many for years, is that those who live in big cities and/or are liberal on social issues may be Americans, and may even be in the majority, but we're not real Americans.

It's this culturally divisive arrogance that's insulting.

And what of the Gallup poll? It's interesting data, but the political realities haven't changed. A growing number of Americans may feel like they're getting more conservative, but these are the same Americans who just elected a Democratic president, a Democratic House, and a Democratic Senate. These are the same Americans who are telling pollsters that their opinion of the Republican Party is in precipitous decline. These are the same Americans who want health care reform, efforts to combat global warming, and a Supreme Court that will leave Roe v. Wade intact.

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