Thursday, December 20, 2007


Once Again, Bad News for the Earth (Thanks, George)

An important reminder from the animal kingdom: Lame ducks can do a lot of damage. The latest harmful act from the (quack, quack) final days* of the Bush administration: EPA administrator Stephen Johnson this week squashed a move by California (echoed by 17 other states) to cut the greenhouse gas emissions from cars.

Even the EPA's own experts counseled against such a decision, recommending that Johnson "either grant the waiver or authorize it for three years before reassessing it," according to a syndicated Washington Post article ("EPA says no to California's emissions plan").

Local and state authorities around the country were, to say the least, unhappy with the Bush anti-environment decision. The head of a Washington state environmental agency put it this way:

"I'm pissed," said Dennis McLerran, the normally soft-spoken head of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency and a lead proponent of the California-style rules. "This is a political decision, not a fact-based decision."

Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire agreed, calling the EPA's decision "a failure of leadership that places our economy and our environment at risk." She added that "Washington [state] can't wait for permission to do the right thing for our environment and future generations."

On the environment, as on many other issues, more and more people agree with the governor: We just can't wait.


*There are still 396 days remaining until Jan. 20, 2009 -- Oh-oh.


Hard-liners for Jesus

Harold Meyerson has an excellent, hard-hitting piece in Wednesday's Washington Post about the strange-bedfellow nature (and the rampant hypocrisy) in the Republican Party rhetoric about its alleged "Christian" values (under the headline Hard-liners for Jesus).

Meyerson gives several examples, but the most pointed might be on the issue of immigration. He writes:

But it's on their policies concerning immigrants where Republicans -- candidates and voters alike -- really run afoul of biblical writ. Not on immigration as such but on the treatment of immigrants who are already here. Consider: Christmas, after all, celebrates not just Jesus's birth but his family's flight from Herod's wrath into Egypt, a journey obviously undertaken without benefit of legal documentation. The Bible isn't big on immigrant documentation. "Thou shalt neither vex a stranger nor oppress him," Exodus says the Lord told Moses on Mount Sinai, "for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt." Yet the distinctive cry coming from the Republican base this year isn't simply to control the flow of immigrants across our borders but to punish the undocumented immigrants already here, children and parents alike.

The politics and rhetoric of "God's Own Party" often bear very little resemblance to God's own book.

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