In a 75-19 vote, the Senate today “reversed President Bush’s cuts to education, health research and grants to local communities as they gird for Bush’s first-ever veto of a regular appropriations bill.”
Contrary to what Garance writes here, notwithstanding the irrelevance of the “real” Mitt Romney, I continue to stand by the view that I’d prefer President Romney to President Rudy Giuliani, President Fred Thompson, President John McCain, President Tom Tancredo, etc. A lot of people seem resistant to the basic logical point that one of the Republicans has to be preferable to the other Republicans. And that person is Mitt Romney.
Today, Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on the “Human Impacts of Global Warming.” Gerberding told the committee that global warming “is anticipated to have a broad range of impacts on the health of Americans,” but gave few specifics, instead focusing on CDC’s current preparation plans. From her statement:
An effective public health response to climate change can prevent injuries, illnesses, and death and enhance overall public health preparedness. Protecting Americans from adverse health effects of climate change directly correlates to CDC’s four overarching Health Protection Goals of Healthy People in Every Stage of Life, Healthy People in Healthy Places, People Prepared for Emerging Health Threats, and Healthy People in a Healthy World.
While we still need more focus and emphasis on public health preparedness for climate change, many of our existing programs and scientific expertise provide a solid foundation to move forward.
CDC officials are now revealing that the White House heavily edited Gerberding’s testimony, which originally was longer and had more “information on health risks“:
“It was eviscerated,” said a CDC official, familiar with both versions, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the review process.
The official said that while it is customary for testimony to be changed in a White House review, these changes were particularly “heavy-handed,” with the document cut from its original 14 pages to four. It was six pages as presented to the Senate committee.
The White House’s deletions included “details on how many people might be adversely affected because of increased warming and the scientific basis for some of the CDC’s analysis on what kinds of diseases might be spread in a warmer climate and rising sea levels.”
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today put out a statement, stating, “The Administration should immediately release Dr. Gerberding’s full, uncut statement, because the public has a right to know all the facts about the serious threats posed by global warming.”
The Bush administration has not only repeatedly attempted to suppress global warming facts, but has also muzzled its officials from speaking out. A January report found 435 instances in which the Bush administration interfered into the global warming work of government scientists over the past five years. The administration also attempted to censor the government’s top global warming scientist, James Hansen, who has been outspoken about the dangers of climate change.
At a forum in Oklahoma today, Army captains — “who represent the military’s future” — pelted Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Navy Adm. Michael Mullen with “blunt questions” about the strain of Iraq redeployments:
The long and repeated battlefield deployments were a prime topic.
One year at war and one year back at home “is not good enough” one officer flatly told Mullen, setting the tone early for the discussion. [...]
“When it becomes a burden to my family, it becomes repulsive,” said one captain, who told Mullen that he wants a stable assignment so his wife can go to school, but he was told that “family considerations don’t play a role” in such planning decisions.
Mullen grimaced as the officer said he was preparing to leave the Army because of the problems.
Gator90 makes an argument here that’s worth responding to:
For every word written or spoken about the influence of Cuban-Americans or Armenian-Americans on U.S. politics & policy, (insert gigantic number) are written & spoken about the influence of Jewish Americans. [...] Which is not to say that Jews shouldn’t be singled out in this respect. Perhaps they should. (There are certainly valid reasons to think that U.S. policy in the Middle East is more important than the Cuba Embargo or silly resolutions about century-old stuff.) But let’s not pretend that they are not singled out. Of course they are, which is why “The Cuba Lobby” and “The Armenia Lobby” are not exactly rocketing up the best-seller lists.
I think this is wrong. The reason The Cuba Lobby and US Foreign Policy isn’t flying off the shelves is that it would be so ridiculously banal to write a book with the thesis that the Cuban exile community centered in South Florida is the dominant influence on America’s Cuba policy. People say this all the time, in mainstream publications, and nobody bats an eye because it’s obviously true. Similarly, all accounts of US policy toward Azerbaijan in the 1990s or congressional attitudes toward the genocide resolution highlight the dominant role played by Armenian-American political pressure in these initiatives. You might write a book or an article about the issue (the Caucuses, Cuba, etc.) but you wouldn’t write something with the thesis “there’s an influential Cuba Lobby” because that’s dull and obvious.
Hill Democrats were planning to hold a press conference today featuring three college students whose parents came to the United States illegally in order to promote the DREAM Act. But the event was postponed after anti-immigrant Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) called on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency to arrest the three students:
“I call on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency to detain any illegal aliens at this press conference,” said Tancredo, who claims to have alerted federal authorities about the well publicized press confrence. “Just because these illegal aliens are being used for political gain doesn’t mean they get immunity from the law. If we can’t enforce our laws inside the building where American laws are made, where can we enforce them?”
NASA’s James Hansen just circulated the following email:
My testimony submitted to the Iowa Utilities Board on Monday October 22 is available here. Because of recent distractions, but mainly because of my plodding writing pace, I only completed text for the introductory and paleoclimate parts. I included figures for the remaining parts and added a quick caption to each figure.
As it turns out, we were then granted a 10-day extension, so I will be sending another version late next week. And I hope to make a better presentation for later coal cases, so any criticisms are welcome.
If you have any comments, post them and I’ll pass them along.
What is Hansen’s bottom line?
Saving the planet and creation surely requires phase-out of coal use except where the CO2 is captured and sequestered.
Tomorrow, the House is expected to vote on the Employment Non- Discrimination Act (ENDA). The bill, introduced by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), would make it illegal to fire, refuse to hire, or fail to promote employees simply based on sexual orientation.
To obtain White House support for ENDA, lawmakers compromised by exempting “small businesses, religious organizations and the uniformed members of the armed forces” from the bill. Yesterday, an article on the right-wing site WorldNetDaily revealed that White House staffers had helped craft these exemptions:
“Americans For Truth has learned that a White House official has boasted to pro-family leaders attending a private administration briefing that White House staffers were involved in the negotiations to craft expanded religious exemption language for the new ENDA bill,” according to Peter LaBarbera’s Americans For Truth organization.
After the meeting, officials refused to say whether or not the President would veto the bill. But today the White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy making clear that despite the exemption compromise, “senior advisors” will still recommend that President Bush veto the bill:
H.R. 3685 would extend existing employment-discrimination provisions of Federal law, including those in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to establish “a comprehensive Federal prohibition of employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.” The bill raises concerns on constitutional and policy grounds, and if H.R. 3685 were presented to the President, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.
While the vast majority — nearly 90 percent — of Fortune 500 companies prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, there are surprisingly no federal prohibitions against such discriminatory behavior. ENDA would ensure that for the first time ever, gay and lesbian employees are afforded this critical federal protection.
Urge your senators to support ENDA here.
UPDATE: Pam’s House Blend has more.
UPDATE II: The Center for American Progress’s Winnie Stachelberg explains why this bill is a necessary first step, even though it “is not as inclusive as policies in many major companies and a growing number of states.”
UPDATE III: Rep. George Miller (D-CA), chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, put out a statement in response to the White House’s statement:
Basing employment decisions on prejudice and not on merit is un-American and should have no place in our society. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act is an historic civil rights bill and if the President opposes it he will be on the wrong side of history.
When I was a child in the 1950s, I went about my business with a little cloud hanging over my head. It didn’t matter whether I was playing in the backyard, studying in my bedroom or suffering from my first romantic crush (Annette on the Mickey Mouse Club). The cloud was always there.
It was the fear of nuclear war. We lived in suburbs west of Chicago. All day long, jets flew overhead on their way to O’Hare International Airport, sometimes so high that they were just a silver spot gleaming in the sun as they moved across the sky. When I saw one, I stopped what I was doing and waited several minutes to see if a mushroom cloud appeared to the east over Chicago. Once I saw the mushroom, I knew from school, our neighborhood would be flattened a few seconds later.
It never happened, of course. I can’t say that the cloud ruined my childhood or followed me into adulthood, but its shadow came back to mind Friday night (Oct. 19) as I watched John Stossel’s latest “Give Me a Break” segment on ABC.