Wednesday Mashup (5/13/09)


Nothing really in particular to note here except the following…

  • I got a kick out of this Onion News Network story, dancing on that razor’s edge between news and satire again; My favorite line? “For the first time in my life I know who the secretary of the treasury is…(and) I don’t like it.”
  • Health_Care_xfMVTPCRkFutFv-325

  • Please click here to access an online petition urging Congress to support President Obama’s health care initiative.
  • EARTH_CC_GW
    Also, I was intrigued by this story in today’s New York Times, which tells us…

    WASHINGTON — An internal government memorandum that came to light on Tuesday challenged the scientific and economic basis of a proposed Environmental Protection Agency finding that climate-altering gases are a threat to human health and welfare.

    The undated and unsigned government document, marked “Deliberative — Attorney Client Privilege,” was compiled by the White House Office of Management and Budget from comments offered by various agencies. A White House official said that many of the criticisms and suggestions came from holdovers from the administration of President George W. Bush and had been rejected by Obama appointees.

    Some of the objections mirror longstanding criticism of the proposed E.P.A. action (to regulate carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act) from Republicans and business lobbies who say that the Clean Air Act is the wrong instrument for combating global warming and that such regulation will have devastating effects on the economy.

    Senator John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming, waved the document at Lisa P. Jackson, the E.P.A. administrator, at a hearing of the Environment and Public Works Committee. Mr. Barrasso called it a “smoking gun” that proved that the proposed finding was based on politics, not science.

    “This misuse of the Clean Air Act will be a trigger for overwhelming regulation and lawsuits based on gases emitted from cars, schools, hospitals and small business,” Mr. Barrasso said. “This will affect any number of other sources, including lawn mowers, snowmobiles and farms. This will be a disaster for the small businesses that drive America.”

    Ms. Jackson replied that the E.P.A. was obligated by the Supreme Court to decide whether heat-trapping gases pose a danger to human health and the environment. She said much of the analysis behind the proposed finding had been completed before she assumed office in January. She added that the comments reflected “people’s opinions” and were not binding on the agency.

    Well, well, I would call that some well-orchestrated political theater by a puppet of some of this country’s most notorious energy interests (and I say that based on this article, which tells us the following about Barrasso)…

    John Barrasso has received $136,400 in oil contributions during the 110th congress. $110,500 of those dollars were from industry PACS.[5] These numbers make Barrasso one of the top recipients of oil and coal money in the Senate. In addition to oil money, Barrasso has accepted $82,250 in coal contributions during the 110th congress. $70,000 of those dollars were from industry PACS [6].

    Oh, and by the way, John, who exactly is it that’s in charge of your party again (here)?

    Update 5/14/09: So NOW we know who wrote that supposed “smoking gun” memo, according to Barrasso (here – yeah, way to look legitimate by appearing with Glenn Beck…but you STILL won’t say Flush Limbore runs your party, will you?).

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  • I have to admit that I’m truly puzzled by this story, which indicates more maneuvers by the pro-gun lobby in this country, specifically the following…

    The 10th Amendment (to the Constitution) declares that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” It inspired the so-called “Sagebrush Rebellion” three decades ago that swept the West, preventing the federal takeover of public lands pushed by the Carter Administration and propelling the self-proclaimed Sagebrush Rebel, Ronald Reagan, to the Presidency. Now it is being invoked by pro-gun advocates to press for state rather than federal regulation of gun manufacturers. (See pictures of America’s gun culture.)

    (Now) Montana has passed a law allowing local gun manufacturers to sidestep federal regulations as long as the weapons they make are sold within the territory of the state. “It’s a gun bill, but it’s another way of demonstrating the sovereignty of the state of Montana,” Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer said, according to AP, as he signed the bill into law in mid-April. “I like big guns, I like little guns, I like pistols, I like rifles, and I would like to buy a gun that’s made in Montana.”

    And yes, the support of this bill by Schweitzer, who was and may yet be again a rising star in the Democratic Party, was most definitely NOT a shining moment for him.

    However, the real “gotcha” part of the story for me comes near the end…

    The irony is that most of the major gun manufacturers are located in blue states – Smith and Wesson in Massachusetts, Colt in Connecticut. Other large manufacturers, like Browning located in Utah, are engaged in global commerce. Montana’s bill will apply to boutique gun manufacturers who make expensive, custom-made hunting rifles, usually purchased by affluent hunters and collectors.

    Putting aside the utterly farcical notion that any weapon manufactured in a state that passes one of these laws such as Montana would NEVER, under any circumstance, travel outside the borders of that state, possibly to be used in the commission of a crime (with Paul Helmke of Handgun Control saying that such a law wouldn’t hold up because “there are rules when you’re part of the Union”) am I to understand, then, that this law would mandate that these guns could only be purchased and used in the state in which they were manufactured? What the hell kind of business sense (or lack thereof) does THAT show?

    Guess that kind of explains why this state has a region known as “the flathead” (the jokes write themselves sometimes, people).

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