All, I thought I was going to have time to keep up with our Wire rewatch while at press tour. I think I’m going to have to hold off, though—there are just too many screeners I have to keep up while I’m here. We’ll return with our discussion of the first three episodes of season two on August 6.
Evangelical Leaders Blame Liberals, Media For Aurora Shootings, Say Only Christian Victims Will Go To Heaven
On the conservative Christian radio show AFA Today, evangelical spokesperson Jerry Newcombe blamed the tragedy of the Aurora shooting on the nation’s loss of fear of God and hell. Discussing the victims, Newcombe argued that the non-Christians were going to Hell:
If a Christian dies early, if a Christian dies young, it seems tragic, but really it is not tragic because they are going to a wonderful place.. on the other hand, if a person doesn’t know Jesus Christ.. if they knowingly rejected Jesus Christ, then, basically, they are going to a terrible place.
Newcombe is a spokesperson for Truth in Action Ministries, which has two nationally syndicated television programs and a combined audience of over half a million on television, radio, and the Internet. In a column in One News Now, Newcombe wrote that the shooting was evidence that “we’re reaping what we’ve been sowing as a society,” explaining, “Lawsuit after lawsuit, often by misguided ‘civil libertarians,’ have chased away any fear of God in the land.”
On the same radio segment, Fred Jackson, the host and director of the American Family Association, similarly blamed Hollywood, liberal media and churches for contributing to mass shootings:
I have to think that all of this, whether it’s the Hollywood movies, whether it’s what we see on the internets, whether it’s liberal bias in the media, whether it’s our politicians changing public policy, I think all of those somehow have fit together—and I have to say also churches who are leaving the authority of Scripture and losing their fear of God—all of those things have seem to have come together to give us these kinds of incidents.
Jackson’s American Family Association is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center because of its frequent demonizing of homosexuality. The conservative Christian blame game kicked off Friday when Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX) attributed the shooting to atheism and attacks on Christians.
Former Florida Republican Governor: Purging Voters Is ‘Un-American’ | Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has written an editorial condemning the state’s ongoing voter purge and criticizing “zealots overreacting to contrived threats of voter fraud by significantly narrowing the voting pool.” “Cynical efforts at voter suppression are driven by an un-American desire to exclude as many people and silence as many voices as possible,” Crist writes. “Our country has never solved anything with less democracy, and we’re far better off when more citizens can access the polls — no matter which party mobilizes the most voters to them.”
Sorry, NY Times, The Filibuster, The Polluter-Funded Campaign, and The Feckless Media Don’t Make Us All ‘Climate Idiots’. Well, Maybe The Media Do.
Another week, another idiotic headline in the New York Times: “We’re All Climate-Change Idiots.”
Who is to blame for the nation’s inaction on climate?
Who is to blame for the fact that a climate bill that passed the House in 2009 — and that would have put us on a path to take stronger action than any other country in the world — didn’t become law?
Could it be the anti-democratic, extra-constitutional, super-majority “requirement” that only bills that get 60 votes in the Senate can become law?
Could it be the fact that the GOP strategy for dealing with Obama, as explained by Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell back in 2010, is to avoid giving any legislation the patina of bipartisanship: ”The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”
How about the anti-science, pro-pollution ideologues — many funded by fossil fuel companies — who have spread disinformation and poisoned the debate so much that it is unrecognizable — so much that John McCain, the GOP champion of climate action actually trashed a bill considerably weaker than the one he tried to pass twice?
How about the media’s generally enabling and inadequate coverage – see “How the status quo media failed on climate change” and How the press bungles its coverage of climate economics: “The media’s decision to play the stenographer role helped opponents of climate action stifle progress”). See also “Silence of the Lambs 2: Media Herd’s Coverage of Climate Change Drops Sharply — Again.”
Of course not.
No, this piece ignores or dismisses the groups that deserve 90% of the blame and instead says in the next paragraph:
Yes, there are political and economic barriers, as well as some strong ideological opposition, to going green. But researchers in the burgeoning field of climate psychology have identified another obstacle, one rooted in the very ways our brains work. The mental habits that help us navigate the local, practical demands of day-to-day life, they say, make it difficult to engage with the more abstract, global dangers posed by climate change.
Yes, there is that oh-so-tiny “barrier” called the filibuster. And there is “some” strong ideological opposition, just a bit, though, really none worth devoting even a full sentence to (see National Journal: “The GOP is stampeding toward an absolutist rejection of climate science that appears unmatched among major political parties around the globe, even conservative ones”).
And so we are subjected to a bunch of psychoanalysis and social science research about how we all have a mental block to solving the climate problem.
No doubt many do — but the piece never bothers to cite any polling analysis, probably because virtually every poll conducted in 2009 and 2010 and more recently shows that the American public wants strong climate action. Here are a few:
Fox News Commentator: Democrats Are ‘Being Foolish,’ Should Propose Gun Control Laws | Conservative commentator Bill Kristol today on Fox News Sunday said that Democrats are “being foolish” by not proposing sensible gun regulations. “People have a right to handguns and hunting rifles,” Kristol said, “I don’t think they have a right to semi-automatic, quazi-machine guns that can shoot hundred bullets at a time. And I actually think the Democrats are being foolish as they are being cowardly. I think there is support for some moderate forms of gun control if they separate clearly from a desire to take away everyone’s handguns or hunting rifles. …President Obama on this one is just unwilling to take a strong stance.” Watch it:
As her colleagues grapple with their stance on gun regulations following the theater shooting in Colorado that killed 12 and injured 58, McCarthy is as vocal as ever about the need for stricter gun laws. On Sunday’s Meet The Press, McCarthy said her fellow members of congress “don’t have the spine anymore” to step up and take action:
McCARTHY: I always look at it this way, no one from the NRA is ever going to vote for me. They’re just not. They might even come after me on other issues. But the thing of it is, as a politician, a lot of politicians know it’s the right thing to try to fight for something to save lives. They don’t have the spine anymore. They pander to who’s giving them money.
Two of McCarthy’s colleagues have stepped up to call for assault weapons bans. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), who represents the district where the shooting occurred, and Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) hope to create stronger legislation in the fallout of the shooting. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) has also proposed modifications to ammunition sales.
The alleged gunman in the Aurora, Colorado shooting obtained all of his guns and ammunition legally. Those included 6,000 rounds of ammunition, two handguns, a shotgun, and an AR-15 rifle which was illegal until recently when lawmakers failed to renew a ban on the weapon.
Top Clinton Aide Threatened After Bachmann Allegations | The New York Post reports Sunday that Huma Abedin, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was placed under security by authorities after an “unspecified threat.” The source of the threat is not clear — he was “described as a Muslim man” — but the Post linked the incident to widely-repudiated allegations made by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) tying Abedin to the Muslim Brotherhood and suggesting her nefarious influence on the U.S. government. New York police and the State Department reportedly questioned the man, who was not charged, according to the Post. (HT: Laura Rozen)
The shootings in Aurora, Colorado, have reignited a debate about gun control and whether the now-expired federal Assault Weapons ban that would have covered one of the rifles used in the theater could have prevented the tragedy.
On CNN’s State of the Union this Sunday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) explained that while “we need to look at everything,” gun control measures may not prevent mass gun violence:
MCCAIN: We had a ban on assault weapons, it didn’t change the situation at all in my view…. Look, I think that the strongest second amendment rights people would be glad to have a conversation. But to somehow leap to the conclusion that this was somehow caused by the fact that we don’t have more gun control legislation I don’t think has been proved.
But McCain was once a gun control advocate. He served as a spokesman in the early 2000s for Americans for Gun Safety, a campaign that encouraged states to enact stricter regulations. In 2004, McCain broke with his party to vote to close the gun show loophole. As the GOP presidential nominee in 2008, McCain earned scorn for his moderate gun control positions.
An original version of this article misstated that McCain supported the reauthorization of the assault weapons ban.
By Heather Lammers, via NREL
The blips of a heart monitor, the hum of an MRI, the intense lights of a surgical room: all can bring both comfort and fear — and all require a lot of power. But new hospitals are being filled with natural, calming light and are leveraging energy from the sun and earth to power the machines, instruments, and tools medical professionals use to help patients recover.
Hospitals use a lot of energy to save lives. In fact, they use more than 836 trillion BTUs of energy every year and produce more than 2.5 times the carbon dioxide emissions of commercial office buildings.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Commercial Buildings Program and DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are working with the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and the buildings industry (see sidebar) to find ways to reduce the energy intensity of large hospitals, schools, and retail buildings by 50%.
“The Advanced Energy Design Guidelines [AEDG] series represents the best practices in industry for energy efficiency in buildings,” NREL Senior Research Engineer and AEDG Project Chair Shanti Pless said. “Our job is to develop those best practices, along with the professionals in the industry, and put them together in an easy-to-implement guide. NREL created the modeling and optimization software used to determine that what is going into the guides achieves a 50% savings goal.”
The NREL commercial buildings team of Pless, Eric Bonnema, and Matt Leach led the development of the Large Hospital, Retail, and School 50% Savings AEDGs. Pless was chair of the project committees of industry experts, and Bonnema and Leach provided efficiency expertise and energy modeling optimization support.
U.S. hospitals spend more than $5 billion annually on energy, often equaling 1% to 3% of a typical hospital’s operating budget. “Healthcare is a big opportunity for energy savings,” Pless said. “We felt this industry needed resources, and there weren’t many out there helping them to achieve 50% savings in energy.”
The 50% AEDG series is a new group of publications that builds on previous successes. Collaborators including DOE and NREL published a series of six 30% AEDGs covering structures ranging from small office buildings to highway lodging to self-storage buildings. Between the 30% and 50% AEDGs, there are roughly 450,000 copies currently in circulation. The full series of AEDGs is available as a free download at www.ashrae.org/aedg.
“ASHRAE, a professional organization consisting of 60,000 mechanical engineers who work on energy efficiency in buildings, is an excellent organization through which we disseminate the guides,” NREL Principal Lab Program Manager for Building Energy Technologies Ron Judkoff said. “ASHRAE also maintains commercial building standards for industry.” Read more
Responding to the tragic shooting in Colorado during an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said he would oppose gun control efforts that could be used to “restrict our freedoms” and instead suggested arming “responsible” people to combat “sick, demented individuals who want to do harm.”
Johnson also argued that any additional measures to restrict large gun magazines that carry 100 rounds of ammunition — similar to the high-capacity clip that the alleged Colorado shooter employed — would infringe on Americans’ Second Amendment rights:
JOHNSON: People will talk about unusually lethal weapons, that could be potentially a discussion you could have. But the fact of the matter is there are 30-round magazines that are just common. You simply can’t keep these weapons out of the hands of sick, demented individuals who want to do harm. And when you try to do it, you restrict our freedoms.
Johnson’s statement was in direct opposition to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who came on the program to call for a renewed assault weapons ban. “I believe people use these weapons because they can get them,” she said. “I believe that a revolver, a rifle, a hand gun isn’t going to do the damage. It’s the big clips, a hundred rounds. You can’t get to him to dislodge the gun because he can fire so rapidly and has so many bullets.”
Johnson disagreed and argued that the assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004 and banned high-capacity magazines, actually made things worse in the Aurora shooting. “If a responsible individual had been carrying a weapon, maybe, maybe they could have prevented some of those deaths, some of those injuries,” he said.