“Inflation may have driven up the price of a bunch of red roses to $30 dollars in Baghdad, but it’s the failure of Operation Strike Fear — the city’s obligatory marketplace bombings have already claimed about 100 lives this week — that is really dampening the spirit of Valentine’s Day for Baghdad residents.” The owner of one Baghdad boutique noted, “Even last year customers would brave the streets. Now they are not coming out.”
“Nine months before agreeing to let ConocoPhillips delay a half-billion-dollar pollution cleanup, the government’s top environmental prosecutor [Sue Ellen Wooldridge] bought a $1 million vacation home with the company’s top lobbyist,” the AP reports. “Also in on the Kiawah Island, S.C., house deal was former Deputy Interior Secretary J. Steven Griles, the highest-ranking Bush administration official targeted for criminal prosecution in the Jack Abramoff corruption probe.”
UPDATE: The happy couple:
Griles, now an oil and gas lobbyist, began dating Wooldridge while he was her boss at Interior. He was the department’s No. 2 official from July 2001 to January 2005, behind only former Secretary Gale Norton. He and Duncan, a ConocoPhillips vice president who runs the company’s Washington office, both served on President Bush’s presidential transition team, Griles for the Interior Department, Duncan for the Energy Department.
Duncan has played a major role in getting the Bush administration’s backing for a proposed $25 billion natural gas pipeline reaching from Alaska to Midwest markets.
In January 2004, Matt Drudge began a wave of laughter on the right with this observation, which he dubbed “the biggest gaffe in years.”
Three years later, he’s resurrected the joke:
Whatever you think of the joke, the sad fact is that many on the right think this is actually proof that global warming isn’t occurring. It’s not.
Weather is current events. Climate is history. The three years that have passed since Drudge’s first joke have been among the hottest ever recorded in human history. Scientists believe 2007 will be even hotter. The National Academy of Sciences reported last year that Earth’s rising temperature “is unprecedented for at least the last 400 years and potentially the last several millennia,” and that “human activities are responsible for much of the recent warming.”
The fact that temperatures have swung from extreme to extreme — in New York, from all-time-high 70 degree weather in January to record-high snowfall one month later — is exactly what increasing greenhouse gas emissions predicts: climate destabilization.
the bodybags were permanent.” — Rep. Ric Keller (R-FL), on past escalation efforts and why he’s opposing the current one.
Set your TiVos twice. “The Half-Hour News Hour,” a right-leaning version of the Daily Show, debuts this Sunday on Fox News. The first episode guest-stars Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter as the President and Vice President. Here’s a promo:
The first review is in, from the Orlando Sentinel:
Laughter, of an awfully canned variety, greets all the gags. Nothing happening on screen justifies these outbursts. …
Fox News Channel will offer a second episode at 10 p.m. March 4. If we’re lucky, we’ll never hear of this dreadful show again.
Yesterday on his radio show, right-wing host Rush Limbaugh derided Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) — who is biracial — for saying, “If you look African-American in this society, you’re treated as an African-American.”
Limbaugh claimed that this statement meant Obama didn’t want to be black and should “renounce it”: “If it’s not something you want to be, if you didn’t decide it, renounce it, become white!” He added, “If you don’t like it, you can switch. Well, that’s the way I see it. He’s got 50-50 in there. Say, ‘No, I’m white.’” Listen here:
The right wing has repeatedly thrown baseless racial slurs at Obama. Earlier in the week, right-wing radio host Glenn Beck said that Obama “is colorless,” and that “as a white guy…[y]ou don’t notice that he is black. So he might as well be white, you know what I mean?”
(HT: Too Sense)
Perhaps I’m misreading, but it seems to me that in his reply to Alan Wolfe David Greenberg seems to indicate that to accuse Israel of “war crimes” is, as such, to engage in anti-semitism. Ironically, however, when going through his list of who the anti-semites are, Greenberg clarifies: “I don’t mean mere critics of Israeli policies, such as of the occupation of the West Bank or the building of the security fence or of the Lebanon incursion. Criticize away!” Well, okay, fair enough. But what if one were to criticize the Israeli occupation of the West Bank in part on the grounds that the settlement-construction program there, initiated in the 70s but continuing throughout the Oslo era, was and is in violation of international law. In short, war crimes have been committed. Similarly, Human Rights Watch has documented war crimes on both sides of the Summer War in Lebanon.
Is it really anti-semitism to point this out?
Similarly, to Jeffrey Herf anyone who thinks the “Israel lobby” (this is not really a term I’m enthusiastic about) is more powerful than Herf does is an anti-semite. Again, I would suggest he think harder about this. Clearly, people are going to disagree about precisely how powerful any given lobbying group is; these disagreements can’t all be chalked up to various forms of racial animosity. If Mearsheimer and Walt overestimate the power of the Israel lobby, mightn’t they just be mistaken? Especially in the absence of actual evidence that Mearsheimer, Walt, Jimmy Carter, Kenneth Roth, etc. actually have some sort of animosity toward Jewish people, isn’t it safer to conclude that disagreements about Israel’s policies and America’s policies toward Israel are just disagreements about controversial political issues? People say a lot of heated things in political debates.
“If the administration believes that any, any use of force against Iran is necessary, the president must come to Congress to seek that authority,” Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) said in a Senate speech. See the video here.
“Defense attorneys misled the court into thinking that former White House aide I. Lewis ‘Scooter Libby would testify in his CIA leak trial, a federal judge said Wednesday, as he blocked Libby from using some classified evidence in the case.”
Reports out of Spain over the holidays indicate that Siberian bears aren’t the only ones losing sleep this winter. In the Cantabarian mountains of northern Spain, mother bears are postponing hibernation to gather food that isn’t usually available.
Experts predict that 2006 will go down as Spain’s warmest year on record. The warmer winter is causing nuts and berries to last further into the season, thus proving it “energetically worthwhile” for the bears not to hibernate and collect food instead.
In an article starring the bears, Mark Wright from the World Wide Fund for Nature commented:
I think it’s an indication of what’s to come. It shows climate change is not a natural phenomenon but something that is affecting not only on the weather, but impacting on the natural world in ways we’re only now beginning to understand.
His statement draws particular attention to the anthropogenic, or human, causes of climate change. In other words, this case and the “other seasonal freaks” mentioned in the article should have pivotal policy implications for the 110th Congress.