Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A Rush to Criticize

On his October 23, 2006 broadcast, Rush Limbaugh, notoriously not hypocritical Konservative talk show host, accused Michael J. Fox of “acting.” As Mr. Fox is, in fact, a retired actor, Mr. Limbaugh got his research straight on at least one account, barring the use of the present tense, which I will let slide.
That’s about where his “facts” appear to leave off.

Normally, I don't bother to comment on Rush Limbaugh as he is so plainly moronic, but this time, I think I want to lend him my support. Bear with me...

Mr. Fox is, according to Mr. Limbaugh, “acting” in a recent campaign ad for Missouri Democratic Senate candidate Claire McCaskill, "exaggerating the effects of [Parkinson’s] disease." Mr. Fox is supporting the use of embryonic stem cell research to help the living who are suffering with diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Many candidates and sitting representatives, mainly but not entirely on the right side of the aisle, oppose such research as part of their anti-science/pro-fundamentalism push to plummet America into the Neo-Dark Ages. Mr. Limbaugh observes that, in the ad, Mr. Fox is "moving all around and shaking… and it's purely an act. This is the only time I have ever seen Michael J. Fox portray any of the symptoms of the disease he has." Apparently, Mr. Limbaugh has spent much time observing the behavior of the former Alex P. Keaton and has not previously noted the presence of such common symptoms. Mr. Limbaugh went on to say that it was "really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn't take his medication or he's acting, one of the two." Well, Mr. Limbaugh does know a thing or two about shamelessness and medication, so we may have to give him that one, eh?

Mr. Limbaugh says that he will "bigly, hugely admit that I was wrong, and I will apologize to Michael J. Fox if I am wrong in characterizing his behavior on this commercial as an act, especially since people are telling me they have seen him this way on other interviews and in other television appearances." But he goes on to criticize, saying that Mr. Fox is just “using his illness as a way to mislead voters into thinking that their vote for a single United States senator has a direct impact on stem cell research in Missouri. It doesn't, and it won't."


You know what? Go for it, Rush Limbaugh. Go get him. Go get that little pro science/ pro advancement in health care, fake-Parkinson suffering little former actor. You tell him. And you tell us. As far as I am concerned, you can let fly with all your crap opinions on anything and everything if it will continue to expose the mean spirited, negative, power-at-all-costs core of the current Konservative movement. Keep up with attacking the weak and exploiting the “moral” attitudes of the people you help to misinform and lead into their own economic ruin. That way, you can do to yourselves with your own words what the rest of us have been unable to do with our litany of facts, figures, evidence, and truth.

Stand Up, Keep Fighting

“The future will not belong to those who sit on the sidelines. The future will not belong to the cynics. The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”--Paul Wellstone, 1944-2002

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Who Decides, Who Wins?

The “Governmental department whose mission is to advance energy technology and promote related innovation in the United States” has had the remarkably innovative idea to charge the National Petroleum Council and its chairman, former Exxon-Mobil CEO Lee Raymond, to head a federally(read: tax-payer)-funded study issuing recommendations for the U.S. energy future through 2025. First of all, it’s 2007, and we can’t make a plan for more than eighteen years out when geologists and climatologists are dealing with a data set that encompasses epochs? Secondly, it’s the U.S. energy future, not the U.S. petroleum future we are talking about. For history’s sake, this is what the Department of Energy’s website had to say about the National Petroleum Council:

“The National Petroleum Council was established by the Secretary of the Interior in 1946 at the request of President Harry S. Truman…The purpose of the Council is to advise the Secretary of Energy on matters related to oil and natural gas, or the oil and natural gas industries.”

Oil and natural gas. That’s it. That is their charter. Not coal or nuclear or, god forbid, renewables, just oil and gas. Here is a group of about 175 people, selected and appointed by the Secretary of Energy, who serve voluntarily—they are not paid a salary—as “representatives of their industry or associated interests as a whole, not as representatives of their particular companies or affiliations.” Meaning, these individuals are supposed to represent the industry in general, not Exxon-Mobil specifically, but is there really a difference?

Making recommendations for America’s energy future, even ones as short-sighted as 18 years out, seems to be outside their mission.

To say this is “alarming” does not cover it.

But it’s not exactly a shocker, given this administration’s track record on cronyism, corporate handouts, scientific obtusity, and focus on short-term gain for the few.

To be clear about why this is a problem, it’s not just about “the environment.” First of all, “the environment” is not an esoteric political issue which can be fobbed off on a few tree-hugging holdovers from the 1960’s. It is a category of issues that reaches into all aspects of American life, be it national security, education, health, and social issues. Secondly, it’s about who is making decisions that affect our long-term health, safety, and security, and why.

A secure nation is a nation that plans for the future and incorporates the principles of self reliance and responsibility into its policies. In order to be a force for democratic change in the international arena, the United States must begin to craft a present and a future based upon a safe and sustainable society here at home. Only when we can responsibly take care of ourselves can we be expected to be a responsible player in the welfare of the international community. This idea of security encompasses not only our military policies but our social policies, our environmental policies, our educational policies—indeed, our democracy as a whole. Our nation is only as strong as our citizens. Our businesses are only as strong as our workers. And our future is only as secure as our ability to sustain ourselves. We cannot sustain ourselves with short-sighted energy policies that both contribute to questionable regimes overseas and pollute our citizens, giving unimaginable economic succor to a very small minority at great expense to the majority. The continued support of a fossil-fuel based economy takes away from entrepreneurialism and opportunity for growth in the emerging field of renewable energy, to say nothing of the funneling of American resources into overseas coffers which may in turn support forces which radically oppose the United States.

Appointing individuals who have personal, financial interests in furthering these incredibly damaging policies is unethical, and it is antithetical to the security of the United States. Mr. Raymond and Exxon-Mobil have supported the anti-scientific denial of global warming for prurient economic reasons, and this is downright embarrassing. It is shameful to continue to reward individuals who persist in ignoring or obfuscating irrefutable scientific fact. It will be disastrous to craft our nation’s future energy policies on the recommendations of a self-interested minority. This is no time for the United States to lapse into a pre-Enlightenment fugue combining propaganda and denial with an almost pathological pursuit of power for its own sake. This appointment is a wrongheaded decision and a bold-faced giveaway to an industry that has been working against America’s future for decades.


Oh my goodness.... the Department of Energy seems totally committed to renewable energy, sustainability, and conservation. That's excellent. It's about time...But... wait a moment...

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Aren't we all...
aren't we all