Congratulations Florida

How many times can one school beat the Buckeyes in one year?

Supreme Court Repudiates Bush Views on Global Warming

Just because the Supreme Court intervened to stop a Florida recount to hand the presidency to second place candidate George Bush in 2001 we must not automatically assume they will side with Bush on everything. Some things just might be more important than getting the kid from your party in the White House, such as protecting the family. George Bush doesn’t believe in global warming. Just about every scientist does. This differential was just enough to get a 5-4 decision from the Supreme Court on a case involving global warming. The Supreme Court “ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider its refusal to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, narrowly siding with 12 states and various environmental groups in a battle with the Bush administration over global warming.”

In yet another blow in what has been a pretty bad year for the Bush administration, the Supreme Court’s decision can be seen as a strong repudiation of Bush’s views on global warming. The New York Times writes:

The 5-to-4 decision was a strong rebuke to the Bush administration, which has maintained that it does not have the right to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, and even if it did, it would not use the authority. The ruling does not force the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate auto emissions, but it would almost certainly face further legal action if it fails to do so.

Writing for the majority, Justice John Paul Stevens said that the only way the agency can “avoid taking further action” now is “if it determines that greenhouse gases do not contribute to climate change” or provides a good explanation why it cannot or will not find out whether they do.Beyond the specific context for this case — so-called “tailpipe emissions” from cars and trucks, which account for about one-fourth of the country’s total greenhouse-gas emissions — the decision is highly likely to have a broader impact on the debate over government efforts to address global warming.

The Washington Post also quotes environmentlists who see this as a repudiation of Bush policies:

Environmental groups hailed the decision. The National Resources Defense Council said in a statement that the ruling “repudiates the Bush administration’s do-nothing policy on global warming,” undermining the government’s refusal to view carbon dioxide as an air pollutant subject to EPA regulation.

“Today the nation’s highest court has set the White House straight,” said David Doniger, the NRDC’s attorney in the case. “Carbon dioxide is an air pollutant, and the Clean Air Act gives EPA the power to start cutting the pollution from new vehicles that is wreaking havoc with our climate.”

Alden Meyer, policy director at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said in a statement, “The Supreme Court came down today on the side of common sense. The language of the Clean Air Act clearly includes carbon dioxide and other global warming emissions as pollutants, and it’s the EPA’s job to protect the public from them. The Bush administration wasted six years hiding behind this indefensible position, and we don’t have time to waste. They’re literally fiddling around while the planet is burning.”

Saying that the technology exists to dramatically reduce tailpipe pollution, Meyer said it is time “to bench the lawyers and bring in the engineers.”

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) said of his home state’s victory in the lawsuit, “It’s a historic moment when the Supreme Court has to step in to protect the environment from the Bush administration.” He added, ” Science tells us we have a 10-year window in which to avoid a climate change catastrophe. The time to act is now.”

As the last quote shows, this can even be added to the long list or articles which show that Kerry was right.

Tony Blair Considering Abandoning Bush on Drug War

Tony Blair might have been suckered into joining Bush’s misleadingly named War on Terrorism, but he is now considering getting Great Britain out of the war on drugs. The Independent reports that Blair is considering legalization of poppy crops:

The US wants to step up eradication programmes, crop-spraying from the air. But, desperate to win “hearts and minds” in Afghanistan and protect British troops, Tony Blair is on the brink of a U-turn that will set him on a collision course with President George Bush.

The Prime Minister has ordered a review of his counter-narcotics strategy – including the possibility of legalising some poppy production – after an extraordinary meeting with a Tory MP on Wednesday, The Independent on Sunday has learnt. Tobias Ellwood, a backbencher elected less than two years ago, has apparently succeeded where ministers and officials have failed in leading Mr Blair to consider a hugely significant switch in policy.

Supporters of the measure say it would not only curb an illegal drugs trade which supplies 80 per cent of the heroin on Britain’s streets, but would hit the Taliban insurgency and help save the lives of British troops. Much of the legally produced drug could be used to alleviate a shortage of opiates for medicinal use in Britain and beyond, they say.

Another Conservative Rebels Against “The Invasion of the Party Snatchers”

Yet another Republcan figures there’s more to gain from telling the truth than to keep spreading the lies. If you really care about the favorable things Vic Gold previously wrote about Bush and Cheney, you can check out the report in The Washington Post. His new book, Invasion of the Party Snatchers: How the Holy-Rollers and the Neo-Cons Destroyed the GOP, tells a different story:

His book, to be published this month by Sourcebooks with an initial print run of 20,000 copies, offers quite a different assessment of the two most powerful men in Washington. Under Bush and Cheney, he argues, the GOP has moved away from principles of small government, prudent foreign policy and leaving people alone to live their private lives — all views Gold associates with his hero, Goldwater. “Invasion of the Party Snatchers” makes plain Gold’s contempt for the direction of his party and the guidance of its leaders.

“For all the Rove-built facade of his being a ‘strong’ chief executive, George W. Bush has been, by comparison to even hapless Jimmy Carter, the weakest, most out of touch president in modern times,” Gold writes. “Think Dan Quayle in cowboy boots.”

Gold is even more withering in his observations of Cheney. “A vice president in control is bad enough. Worse yet is a vice president out of control.”

For all their talk about ideas, conservativism is really a movement about greed and grabbing power. The seek the power first, and then work backwards to come up with ideas, such as supply-side economics, to justify what they wanted to do in the first place. The problem with a movement which is all about power is that everyone loves you when they see your coat tails as a way of sharing power, but few will go down when your ship starts sinking. I’m sure there will be many more conservatives who will try to distance themselves from the disasters of the Bush years.

Paris Hilton in a Bikini as Safe as John McCain

John McCain claimed that it is so safe that “even Paris Hilton could ride a bicycle in a bikini through Anbar province.” Paris Hilton could be riding a bicycle dressed in this bikini through the Anbar province and still be safe if she had as much protection as John McCain did on his recent trip to Iraq. At least that’s the conclusion reached by Tom Aspell of NBC News as reported by Think Progress. McCain, who previously claimed that the war is a success and Iraq is safe, was accompanied by “100 American soldiers, with three Blackhawk helicopters, and two Apache gunships overhead.” McCain also chose to wear what appears to be a bullet proof vest instead of a bikini.

Ignorance of Science Remains Serious Problem

A Newsweek poll on religious attitudes shows that ignorance of science persists:

Nearly half (48 percent) of the public rejects the scientific theory of evolution; one-third (34 percent) of college graduates say they accept the Biblical account of creation as fact. Seventy-three percent of Evangelical Protestants say they believe that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years; 39 percent of non-Evangelical Protestants and 41 percent of Catholics agree with that view.

As I noted last August, the United States trails most of the world in accepting modern biology, primarily due to the politicization of relgion in this country. Steve Benen considers the implications:

Now, I know what some of you are thinking. Even if most of society embraces bogus science, it doesn’t really matter; most Americans aren’t going to pursue careers in science anyway. A limited elite will understand biology, go into the field professionally, and come up with life-saving breakthroughs for the rest of us. Concerns are alarmist. After all, most Americans have been rejecting modern biology for a long time, and we’ve still been the premier nation for science for decades.

My response to this is two-fold. First, those limited elite will be less and less inclined to pursue science seriously when their teachers are intimidated into ignoring the underpinnings of biology and their school districts won’t purchase textbooks that convey accurate information. It’s a national problem that isn’t going away.

Second, eventually there’s a tipping point. The United States isn’t just trailing potential competitive rivals by a little; the gap is huge and growing. The competitive advantage the U.S. enjoyed is shrinking. At what point does the anti-science push become simply too much of a burden?

Last year, none other than the president used his State of the Union to tell the country that it’s time to take science seriously. “[W]e need to encourage children to take more math and science, and to make sure those courses are rigorous enough to compete with other nations,” Bush said.

On this the president may be an awful messenger, but the message is right — maintaining our position as a world leader in science will be impossible if the nation rejects scientific truths.

Henry Kissinger Says Military Victory No Longer Possible in Iraq (For Second Time)

It’s not just those anti-war liberals who say a military victory in Iraq is not possible. Add Henry Kissinger to the list:

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who helped engineer the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam, said Sunday the problems in Iraq are more complex than that conflict, and military victory is no longer possible.

He also said he sympathizes with the troubles facing U.S. President George W. Bush.

“A ‘military victory’ in the sense of total control over the whole territory, imposed on the entire population, is not possible,” Kissinger told The Associated Press in Tokyo, where he received an honorary degree from Waseda University.

Kissinger fears the consequences of an abrupt pull out. He has criticized partisan bickering but echos many Democrats in stressing the need for diplomacy involving neighboring countries:

Kissinger said the best way forward is to reconcile the differences between Iraq’s warring sects with help from other countries. He applauded efforts to host an international conference bringing together the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Iraq’s neighbors — including Iran, Washington’s longtime rival in the region.

“That is the sort of framework out of which it is conceivable that an agreement should emerge,” Kissinger said. “One needs to be prepared to negotiate with adversaries.”

Kissinger had similar comments about Iraq last November.

Feingold and Reid Propose Legislation to End War

Following is a press release from Russ Feingold’s office regarding a proposal to redeploy troops out of Iraq. This appears to be a much better approach than the arguments of many bloggers (which led to the attacks on Obama following his interviews with AP and CNN discussed in the last post), along with John Edwards, to tie opposition to the war to spending bills. We need Senate Democrats to strongly oppose the war, but they must also be cautious of giving ammunition to Republicans who raise bogus charges of cutting off funds to support the troops. The plan makes clear the distinction between cutting off current funds for the troops and limiting future funding to safely redeploying the troops out of Iraq.

Following is the press release from Russ Feingold:

April 2, 2007

Washington D.C. -­ U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced today that they are introducing legislation that will effectively end the current military mission in Iraq and begin the redeployment of U.S. forces. The bill requires the President to begin safely redeploying U.S. troops from Iraq 120 days from enactment, as required by the emergency supplemental spending bill the Senate passed last week. The bill ends funding for the war, with three narrow exceptions, effective March 31, 2008.“I am pleased to cosponsor Senator Feingold’s important legislation,” Reid said. “I believe it is consistent with the language included in the supplemental appropriations bill passed by a bipartisan majority of the Senate. If the President vetoes the supplemental appropriations bill and continues to resist changing course in Iraq, I will work to ensure this legislation receives a vote in the Senate in the next work period.”

“I am delighted to be working with the Majority Leader to bring our involvement in the Iraq war to an end,” Feingold said. “Congress has a responsibility to end a war that is opposed by the American people and is undermining our national security. By ending funding for the President’s failed Iraq policy, our bill requires the President to safely redeploy our troops from Iraq.”

The language of the legislation reads:

(a) Transition of Mission – The President shall promptly transition the mission of United States forces in Iraq to the limited purposes set forth in subsection (d).

(b) Commencement of Safe, Phased Redeployment from Iraq – The President shall commence the safe, phased redeployment of United States forces from Iraq that are not essential to the purposes set forth in subsection (d). Such redeployment shall begin not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(c) Prohibition on Use of Funds – No funds appropriated or otherwise made available under any provision of law may be obligated or expended to continue the deployment in Iraq of members of the United States Armed Forces after March 31, 2008.

(d) Exception for Limited Purposes – The prohibition under subsection (c) shall not apply to the obligation or expenditure of funds for the limited purposes as follows:

(1) To conduct targeted operations, limited in duration and scope, against members of al Qaeda and other international terrorist organizations.

(2) To provide security for United States infrastructure and personnel.

(3) To train and equip Iraqi security services.