IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Debt ceiling theatre is over --- for now --- with clean energy & environment the biggest losers; It's official: Record heat wave makes for a record July; Don doesn't do Dallas (Tropical Storm Don, that is); PLUS: The most anti-environment Congress ever... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Star Polar Bear Scientist in the Dog House; Conservative, white men more likely to be climate change sceptics: study; EPA delays smog rule for fourth time; CBO: Clean Energy Standards Are an Affordable Way to Cut Carbon Emissions; Protesters Continue To Block Mountaintop Removal At Coal River; More reasons to switch to LED light bulbs; Issa to investigate Obama's fuel economy deal; Not looking good: Climate Trends and Global Crop Production; GOP presidential campaign town halls become oil lobbyist theater; World is building low-carbon global economy without the United States; Beware these household energy-saving myths ... PLUS: Gee, why are climate scientists so perturbed? ...
And a house divided is united, ever so briefly, as Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) made a surprise appearance tonight during the U.S. House vote on the contentious debt ceiling agreement. The dramatic appearance on the floor to cast her vote in favor, was her first since being shot in the head in Tucson on January 8th. The chamber erupted into applause.
"I had to be here for this vote," she said in a statement. "I could not take the chance that my absence could crash our economy."
Giffords voted against raising the ceiling previously, in December of 2009 and February of 2010, but voted in favor of it today, as her staff noted that "this vote was substantially different, with the strength of the U.S. economy hanging in the balance."
The measure passed in the House following Giffords' appearance, by a vote of 269 to 161, with most of the 74-person Progressive Caucus, the largest in the House, voting against it. Democrats ultimately split their vote 95 to 95 on the controversial bill brokered by President Obama and Republicans, featuring the largest spending cut in the nation's history. GOP members voted overwhelmingly in favor of passage, 176 to 66.
The U.S. Senate is scheduled to take up the bill tomorrow, prior to the August 2 deadline when the U.S. Government is said to be no longer able to pay all of it's obligations unless the debt ceiling is raised. Both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have already expressed their support.
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UPDATE 8/2/11, 11:03am PT: Debt ceiling agreement has passed in U.S. Senate by a 74 to 26 margin. 19 Republicans and 7 Democrats voted against it. The President signed the bill, promising some $2 trillion in spending cuts, just moments ago, privately in the Oval Office. Mission Accomplished.
It took 30 years and 204 days, but on Tuesday August 2, 2011 the fruits of the Reagan Tree of Life will finally have reached its peak when the over-ripened, low-hanging, worm-filled Reagapples will begin to pound the ground, not with sweetened blossoms, but with a dead thud. 30 years and 204 days of belittling and ignoring the American education system, calling ketchup a vegetable, telling us trees cause pollution, cutting taxes to create trickled-down imaginary jobs (OK there are a few more maids and gardeners) and teaching Americans that they could have everything they want and it will cost nothing - the Teadras educated Republican party is willing to take the ultimate bet and tell the piper (or croupier) this time to shove it.
The US Congress has spent the better part of the past month arguing over whether the credit limit on the Visa card should be raised in order to pay their bills --- bills they have committed and signed to pay. If this game of cold-war brinkmanship wasn't so dangerous on so many levels --- it would actually be comical to watch. Watching the children of the right storm out of meetings (Eric Cantor --- who probably has the distinction of having had the most spit balls thrown at him during 7th grade lunch) and then say no, no, no as the opposition capitulates to nearly every one of their demands is nothing short of having MacBeth playing in a Kabuki Theater.
The 80 or so teabaggers, who sandbagged their way into Congress last November promising to stop those eternal welfare queens from driving Cadillacs and finally ridding the country of the leeches who live off their hard-earned (over) taxed dollars, are about to allow the real grand experiment to go forward --- let the US default on its payments for the first time in history --- and default by choice. You know the world's strongest economy is going to look like it is managed even worse than Greece...
They voted for it, before they voted against it. But that was the 7 times they voted to raise the debt ceiling when it was their "President" in the White House.
As ThinkProgress notes in their blog item accompanying the following video compilation of Republicans arguing on the House floor in 2002 and 2004 to raise the debt limit in a clean bill with no spending cuts, "no less than 98 currently serving House GOP members" voted in favor of doing exactly that --- back then --- in order to pay the bills for spending they'd previously approved.
But that was then, with a Republican in the White House, before they decided to create a fake "crisis" in order to terrorize the nation's economy in a shameful attempt to return to power. Hypocrisy on parade...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Despite what Rush Limbaugh says, record breaking heat wave breaks heat records; Speaking of climate change deniers, guess what the Norwegian terrorist was?; And speaking of climate change, a new study says it's causing the release of long-buried toxins; Fukushima, four months later; PLUS: House Republicans attack clean air and clean water --- AGAIN ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Appalachian Poverty Concentrated Around Mine Sites; More big Yellowstone fires predicted with climate change; Biting the Bullet, VT Yankee Orders Fuel; Smart Grid Stimulus Creates a Global Player in CO; GA's coastal infrastructure under threat; 'Toxic 20' list released of states with most air pollution; Painting roofs white keeps buildings cool, save $$$; Alarming 'Dead Zone' Grows in Chesapeake Bay; Coal Ash Taints Groundwater at TVA Sites; EPA Program on Children's Toxic Exposure "Flawed"; Natural Gas Drillers Lowball Leases; New Rules Put Pressure On Outdate Power Plants ... PLUS: The true cost of gasoline? $13 a gallon ...
Today on my show on Pacifica Radio's KPFK in Los Angeles, I spent the first part on a "Republican War on Democracy" update.
The update kicked off this week with the latest details in the story of Indiana's new Republican Sec. of State Charlie White who is facing seven felony charges, three of them for voter fraud, as yesterday, the Indiana Recount Commission found (incredibly enough) that though White was registered at his ex-wife's house to vote (rather than his own) and had re-married and purchased a condominium, he actually hoped to someday move back into the ex-wife's house. Therefore, he wasn't illegally registered to vote, so he was not illegally on the ballot, so he gets to remain as Indiana's Secretary of State. So sayeth the Indiana Recount Commission.
The Democrats who filed the complaint with the commission may still decide to take the case to court where, in the meantime, White is still facing those seven felony violations. (Did I mention that three of them are related to voter fraud?)
As well, I offered a quick review of all of the other recent high-profile GOP vote fraudsters, such as Ann Coulter, Gov. Mitt Romney, Ambassador Jon Huntsman and Rep. Todd Akin, and the latest news on which states' GOP-fueled voter-suppressing polling-place Photo ID restrictions have been passed into law, and which ones have been thankfully stopped by gubernatorial vetoes.
Also, there was a remarkable statement by Ohio's new Republican Sec. of State John Husted against Photo ID disenfranchisement recently! He deserves big props for that!
In the second part of the show, I was joined by Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen's energy program. He's an expert on the dangers and pitfalls of nuclear power and other fossil fuels. We discussed the unprecedented floods threatening the Fort Calhoun and Cooper nuclear plants in Nebraska; the wildfire threats to New Mexico's Los Alamos nuclear site; the woeful state of nuke plants across the country (as detailed of late in Jeff Donn of AP's remarkable investigative reports here, here, here & here); and the fact that there seems to be absolutely nobody at the federal level of our government able or willing to do a damn thing to protect the citizens from the looming and growing dangers.
My interview with Slocum (and a shot at climate change denying Rep. Steve King (R-IA)) is here:
On Sunday, Los Angeles Timesadded the name Michele Bachmann (R-MN) to a very long list of wealthy hypocrites who scream "socialism" all the way to the bank.
Bachmann, like most members of the Plutocrat (aka Republican) Party, rails against what she describes as "entitlements" (Social Security, Medicare and just about any other program designed to promote the general welfare of the American people – in her case even going so far as to label the 9/11 Responders bill as a "new entitlement program"). Yet, as the Times revealed, Bachmann not only voted against ending such "corporate entitlements" as subsidies for the oil and gas industry, but personally benefited from some $260,000 in federal taxpayer subsidies paid to her family farm and another $30,000 state subsidy to her husband's counseling clinic, part of which included monies from the federal government.
While Bachmann denied directly benefiting from either subsidy --- she went so far as to say "my husband and I have never gotten a penny of money from the farm" --- her financial disclosure form reveals that she received income from the farm during the same period the farm received federal subsidies. Her claim that the clinic's public subsidies went to train its employees rather than her pocketbook provides a typical form of plutocratic denial that fails to acknowledge that the use of public funds to educate private sector employees eliminates the need for private employers to expend their own funds for training.
But the Bachmanns are but bit players in the great American corporate welfare scheme...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Summer of Floods, Summer of Fires continues to continue --- now with Extra Nuclear Flavor! Today's unlucky town: Los Alamos, NM and their nuclear labs; Nebraska nuke plants remain dry, sort of, hopefully...so stop worrying!; PLUS: Another climate science denier enters the 2012 Presidential race ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): US military spends more on desert tent air conditioning than NASA's entire annual budget; The Spam factory's dirty secret; Middle East has huge climate vulnerability; Bike & pedestrian infrastructure projects create more jobs than car projects; Top 10 Greenest Airlines; DoD plans large-scale integration of electric vehicles; Antarctica ice melt accelerating; Arctic sea ice headed for another major melt this year; EPA warns GOP House bill would 'overturn' Clean Water law; Insiders doubt future of natural gas in US; Insiders warn shale gas may be a Ponzi scheme; New foe for US solar energy: railroad companies; Fox News' Wallace encourages viewers to remain misinformed on climate change; Caribou herd in Canada threatened by tar sands; College grads flocking to green jobs; Alternative nuclear reactor design seeks country willing to fund & build prototype ... PLUS: Meet The ‘Friendly Fracosaurus’: Natural Gas Industry's propaganda special coloring books for children ...
Maddow's excellent report does not, however, delve into the recent and growing spate of high-profile GOPers who have, or appear to have committed similar felony voter fraud violations --- such as Romney's potential fellow Mormon GOP Presidential hopeful Gov. Jon Huntsman, Missouri's GOP U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin, Indiana's Republican Sec. of State Charlie White (who is currently facing 3 voter fraud-related indictments), or GOP voter fraud queen Ann Coulter.
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: It's official: record flooding on the Missouri River, record snowpack & record drought mean another record-breaking Spring in the US; Record drought in Europe too, bringing crop failure and blackouts this summer; Obama Administration boosts funding for the smart grid; PLUS: It's that time again: Get ready for a year and a half of Republican presidential campaigning ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): 'Liquid battery" breakthrough?; Where's that green jobs revolution Obama promised?; Obama Pushes for More Cleantech, Green Jobs; Planet Earth Doesn't Know How To Make It Any Clearer It Wants Everyone To Leave; Oil to spike again before new recession; Japanese unite against nuclear power; NM Abandons Efforts to Restore Mexican Gray Wolves; New breed of wheat 'near immune' to devastating plague; Appeals Court Rules for Massey Over U.S; In Koch Country, KS gov begs federal government for climate disaster relief; High levels of Strontium Found at Fukushima Plant; EPA Delays Rule on Power Plant Emissions; New Rules For Offshore Fish Farms; 150 Chemicals No Longer Icognito; 2 Common Materials Pose Risk of Cancer; GAO finds most plants lack emissions controls; Do You Live Near One of the Top 25 Dirtiest Coal Plants?; Mining Company to Pay $263 Million settlement; Do we have a moral obligation to stop screwing up the planet? ... PLUS: "Humans ‘blissfully unaware’ of coming climate crisis"...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Facing the aftermath of disaster in Joplin; Typhoon Songda hits Japan (Fukushima spared); Germany to dump all nukes; Rise of the emissions - now the highest on record; PLUS: Saudi Arabia really wants you to have lower gas prices ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): US won't protect threatened bluefin tuna; G8 calls for stricter nuke standards; IEA: Renewable elec. generation key to climate change; WA dismantles dams; African land grab could lead to water wars; Electrical "Micro-grids" could revolutionize US electricity production; Cate Blanchett defends 'vain' pro-carbon tax campaign; NJ: Polluters rewriting rules for site cleanup; Groundwater depletion detected from space; Food safety advocates decry GOP cuts to FDA; Germany: 15 Dead from food poisoning; Libya: Water Emerges As A Hidden Weapon; France's dry spring could lead to power blackouts ... PLUS: A Brief History of Plastic's Conquest of the World ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Another day, another deadly outbreak of tornadoes in a record season; Japan admits three meltdowns and turns to solar; Electric cars for the federal fleet; PLUS: House Republicans hold disaster aid hostage ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Suing the FDA over antibiotics in livestock feed; New US mpg labels now include emissions; Switzerland to phase out nuclear power; Norway plans billion-dollar clean energy fund for poor; What does a great sustainable city look like?; World Bank's coal electricity headache; Water scarcity impacts energy options in West; Will 10 Billion people use up the planet's resources?; Swine flu likely came from China; Cancer now leading cause of death in polluted China; Curious: AEI's budget proposal includes a carbon tax; GM recycles BP spill booms for ChevyVolt; Very cool liquid-cooled LED bulb introduced; A dark day for Brazil's Amazon jungle ... PLUS: Oil speculators charged with price manipulation. How does oil speculation raise gas prices? ...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Tornado terror and devastation in Joplin, MO; Extreme weather and the costs of the 'new normal'; Iceland erupts again; PLUS: The EPA on the hot seat --- again ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Obama Admin to transition US fleet to alternative vehicles; TX drinking water pipes & plumbing radioactive; Farm runoff in MS fuels dead zone in Gulf; Teaching kids about recycling, one candy bribe at a time; Behavior changes could save 3 coal plants worth of power; Gulf disaster leads to safety gear innovations; Federal Arctic drilling impact statement falls short; Vitter blocks raise for DOI Secretary; Lawsuit against California’s climate law is misguided; Judge's ruling won't halt CA global warming law; Billionaire Koch Brothers to benefit from controversial Keystone XL pipeline?; TX files challenge to EPA "endangerment finding"; Lessons from the ‘Rapture’ that didn’t happen; Norway's billion-dollar clean energy initiative for the poor; Stink bug spread threatens crops ... PLUS: "The Battle for Patagonia Has Just Begun" in Chile ...