25 June 2008

Bush administration wont read emails it knows it wont like.

White House Refused to Open Pollutants E-Mail

The White House in December refused to accept the Environmental Protection Agency’s conclusion that greenhouse gases are pollutants that must be controlled, telling agency officials that an e-mail message containing the document would not be opened, senior E.P.A. officials said last week.

They didn't like what the E.P.A. was going to tell them about greenhouse gases, so they didn't open the email. How juvenille.

The document, which ended up in e-mail limbo, without official status, was the E.P.A.’s answer to a 2007 Supreme Court ruling that required it to determine whether greenhouse gases represent a danger to health or the environment, the officials said.

This week, more than six months later, the E.P.A. is set to respond to that order by releasing a watered-down version of the original proposal that offers no conclusion. Instead, the document reviews the legal and economic issues presented by declaring greenhouse gases a pollutant.

In order to get the administration to even read their emails, the E.P.A. has to rework them so that they offer no substance, no oppinion, no scientific fact. The Bush administration wants nothing stronger than white bread reports, since anything more would upset their world view that global warming, although happening, is not the danger we scientists and concerned citizens make it out to be. The reason is the same as it has ever been; aknowledging the dire threat of global warming compels them to do something about it, and that would hurt the big corporations that support the Republican party.

Simultaneously, Mr. Waxman’s committee is weighing its response to the White House’s refusal to turn over subpoenaed documents relating to the E.P.A.’s handling of recent climate-change and air-pollution decisions. The White House, which has turned over other material to the committee, last week asserted a claim of executive privilege over the remaining documents.

In an interview on Sunday, Mr. Fratto, the White House spokesman, said the committee chairmen did not understand the legal precedent underlying executive privilege. “There is a long legal history supporting the principle that the president should have the candid advice of his advisers,” Mr. Fratto said. Emphasis added.

Not that he'll actually listen to it.

15 June 2008

Dear Public Masturbator

I dunno about you Dad, but mine prefers a beer, Mom's the liquor drinker. I also don't know about your dad, but mine was a hippie skateboarder in the 70's, not a booty chasing booze hound. He still is, but now its bikes. He made pancakes in the morning, played with bikes, and went grocery shopping for the family.

Happy Father's Day.



11 June 2008

The Story of Underfunded Mandates and Tomatoes

F.D.A. Reports Progress in Tracing Salmonella

167 people are sick with a salmonella infection from certain types of raw tomatoes.

The agency warned consumers over the weekend to avoid certain raw red plum, red Roma and red round tomatoes and products containing them. Cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes and those sold with the vine still attached are not associated with the outbreak, officials said.

This pops up from time to time. But with food traveling farther and being spread farther, its harder to pin point things and to regulate them. Think how much more trouble Dr. Snow would have had if the water from Broad Street was being shipped, nearly unregulated throughout Europe.

But the incompetence of the current administration overwhelms even my interest in epidemiology.

In November the food and drug agency released a “food protection plan,” but the Bush administration did not ask for the money to finance parts of it until Monday night. The health and human services secretary, Michael O. Leavitt, said on Monday that he would amend the administration’s budget request by asking for an additional $275 million for next year, $125 million of which would go to food protection.

I feel I might need to kick my cynicism up a notch. Unsurprised is not enough, one must now assume that whatever part of the government was put in place to take care of whatever is falling apart now, is currently massively underfunded.

08 June 2008

Substance and Misogyny

I am hesitant to wander into this discussion because it has erupted elsewhere in great spewing volcanoes of vitriol and bile. But as someone who caucused for Hillary and was later disappointed by some of her choices, I would like to try to maybe talk about this carefully.

Misogyny alone did not kill her campaign, but it did play a role. There were substantive disagreements I, and many others, had with some of the ideas she put forward. I can't support a summer gas tax holiday, and I thought the 3AM add was a little tasteless. But I don't expect that I will always agree with a candidate or politician on all issues, and am willing to overlook somethings in the search for a viable alternative to the waning Republican stranglehold.

One thing that is markedly different between the Clinton campaign and the Obama campaign is the structure of the support. Clinton was much more involved with insiders and people who have been doing this all their lives. Obama's supporters tended to have come into their own politically much more recently. Grassroots wont always get you elected, and lord knows you can get elected without them, but this time around, grassroots was more productive and more profitable. Just how it went this time.

That said, there was plenty of misogyny that was spewed out. Its one thing to bring up that a gas tax break would not be passed on to the consumers, but eaten as profit by the oil companies. Thats a substantive critique.

"I have often said, when she comes on television, I involuntarily cross my legs." -Tucker Carlson

That, I think we can agree, is not a substantive critique of any part of Hillary Clinton's campaign. Moreover, that specific comment is something that could be applied to any uppity bitch that scares Tucker Carlson, so really any of us. Tucker Carlson is an easy target, but many of the non substantive comments were pure misogyny. See Kristen Schaal.

What about those questions that walked that uneasy line between pundit drool and honest criticisms of her policy proposals? All those questions that wouldn't have been asked if she were a man? Those comments with pregnant pauses, meaningful tone of voice, those vocal cues that have come to be the modern wink and a nudge? That is where all this gets really nasty. When some hear a comment and think that its something that should be asked, and others think it would never even come up if there were no women in the race. We could hash every comment, try to come to a ruling of misogynist or just stupid, but I don't really want to see this at that high of a resolution. I'd really rather focus on getting a Democrat in the White House, and more in Congress.