Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 4, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

BUSH IGNORES SCIENTISTS....FILM AT 11....I know this will come as a shock, but a group of scientists claimed yesterday that the Bush administration is ignoring their recommendations and twisting their research results:

In an unprecedented action, the Environmental Protection Agency's own scientific panel on Friday challenged the agency's proposed public health standards governing soot and dust.

....Some panel members called the administrator's actions "egregious" and said his proposals "twisted" or "misrepresented" their recommendations.

....Cal/EPA's air pollution epidemiology chief, Bart Ostro, charged during the teleconference that the EPA had incorporated "last-minute opinions and edits" by the White House Office of Management and Budget that "circumvented the entire peer review process."

He said research that he and others had conducted also had been misrepresented in the EPA's lengthy justification for the proposed new standards.

In an interview later, Ostro said he was referring to marked-up drafts of Johnson's proposals that showed changes by the White House budget office and language that was "very close to some of the letters written by some of the trade associations."

Sigh. I hardly even know what to say about stuff like this anymore. Of course the language was
"very close" to letters written by trade associations. The modern Republican Party doesn't do policy anymore, they just farm it out to K Street.

Maybe Chris Mooney will follow up on this later. It's his beat, after all.

Kevin Drum 11:37 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (71)

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Comments

Could you dumb that down for me a little?

Posted by: kenga on February 4, 2006 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

I hardly even know what to say about stuff like this anymore.

At least some folks are fighting back. First responders from NYC are suing Christina Whitman for the lies she and the EPA told about post 9/11 air quality.

Posted by: Keith G on February 4, 2006 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, this example is another discouragement to the scientific community. However, the switchgrass example two posts up in Kevin's blog demonstrates that engagement by the reality-based community can still have some effect. Its a small consolation, but important.

Posted by: troglodyte on February 4, 2006 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Its called "Fitting the science around the policy."

Posted by: jb on February 4, 2006 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Oh well so much for lobbying reform, not that anyone really thought the GOP was going to cahnage the way it works... or the Dem's if they were in power either.

Posted by: zaphodius on February 4, 2006 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

Some panel members called the administrator's actions "egregious" and said his proposals "twisted" or "misrepresented" their recommendations.

CLICK THE LINK. ALWAYS CLICK THE LINK. What the panel members said was COMPLETELY untrue.

"Dan Riedinger, a spokesman for the Edison Electric Institute, whose members generate about 60% of U.S. electricity, said: "Some vocal CASAC members have made it clear they believe EPA should have swallowed their recommendations hook, line and sinker. But the real issue is whether the agency and its science advisors have adequately considered all relevant research in an effort to reach a fully informed decision regarding new health standards. The answer is no."

He said that the EPA had already identified nearly 200 new studies on particulates since the scientific panel reviewed data four years ago and that "a complete review of the scientific literature and regulations already in place suggests that tightening the fine particle standard at this point isn't necessary.""

Posted by: Al on February 4, 2006 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

Keith G,

Did you see that the judge would not let Christine Whitman out of the suit?

Stay tuned for the Drexel Hill Dimwit to start posting about the quality of air over Drexel Hill, PA getting better and better each and every day. This is, of course, his Saturday Blog Site. He does allow Kevin to use it occasionally.

Posted by: stupid git on February 4, 2006 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Shocked! Shocked!

Posted by: CFShep on February 4, 2006 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

Phht. its really simple. the modern day republicans put party before country.


of course is Hillary did this Al would have a cow. But its OK to betray your country if you are a Republican.

Posted by: me on February 4, 2006 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

"The modern Republican Party doesn't do policy anymore, they just farm it out to K Street."

Well, to be more precise, they got into power on the money and favors they received from promising to let the lobbyists drive policy. It's not that the administration doesn't have policy ideas, I suppose they might. It's that they traded power for policy upfront. They took office with no intention of developing policy.

And Joe Sixpack Republican doesn't have anymore say in it than actual progressives do in the DLC.
If Fox News would do little reporting on it, J.S. Republican would probably be very upset.

I, like Kevin, live in a very red part of California. In fact, I lived most of my life within 4 miles of Kevin and I can truly say that most of my best friends are Republicans. I talk to them more than I get to talk to liberals or progessives.

We have a lot more in common that you might think reading the blogs these days. It's really nothing new, we are all little more than wallets and votes for the D & R elites.

Posted by: Dilapidus on February 4, 2006 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Go Seahawks, while you can still breathe

Posted by: Chris on February 4, 2006 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

circumvented the entire peer review process.

My wife is a research scientist. I can tell you first hand, that most conservative ideologues that we've engaged in discussion with either refuse to understand the importance of peer review or are completely clueless as to what the process is or how seriously it is taken by scientists.

It is so much easier for them to try and write off and discredit sound scientific research rather than confront the implications of that research to their worldview.

This is why they have no problem buying into so-called "published research" from the likes of George Taylor. It fits their worldview so it must be true.

Posted by: Simp on February 4, 2006 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

It represents way more than just lobbyists gone wild, and a US government whoring itself and its own citizens interests out to the highest bidder.


The Bush administration has lowered the bar so dramatically on policy and government integrity that I am not sure this country will ever be dig itself out of the hole.


And I say this as a person who is niether a democrat or especially liberal. As little respect as I ever had for Clinton, and it was very little, the current administration makes him look like Pope John Paul. Worst of all its not just about one person, its the entire reeking structure of the Republican party structure within the legislative (minus Hagel) and executive branches.


You see these kind of comments repeated ad nauseum in blogs, most of them liberal wank sites to be sure, and much of it is knee jerk bashing and boilerplate repetition, but...


Theres is genuinely no integrity in this administration, and I am not sure anybody involved cares about this country or its citizens at all.

Posted by: Ten in Tenn on February 4, 2006 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Fake Al is hilarious. That was a beautiful post.

Posted by: sk1llz on February 4, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

The only solution will come from within the republican Party. Anyone who isn't republican will automatically be accused of "politics" when trying to point out that this government has gone (always been) sour. Unfortunately, the backbone of the current republicans are people who do not have any problem with this administration. most of them are religious, which automatically places them into a category of people who live outside of perceived reality. They take their way of thinking to all problems, and create a world like we have today. unfortunately, the solution lies in getting people to recognize that imagining the world to be a certain way does not mean it is that way. Too little too late. until we raise a generation of people who attempt to measure and then interpret reality, we will be left with people who make up things. Their leaders, of course, take advantage of them, in order to make money. But the little guy in the street is the real problem. he or she believes. And that's all you need to do to succeed in their world.

Posted by: Chris on February 4, 2006 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

I think a strong and serious argument can be made that we're not a functioning republic anymore. Yes, we have elections, but without a meaningful choice or substantive debate on real issues they are more like ceremonial PR stunts by the parties.

More to the point, from their very first month in office, congressmen start fundraising all over again for their next election. The overwhelming majority of their legislative efforts receive no notice or feedback from their constituents. By itself, this is not necessarily a bad thning - it's their job; we elect representatives to tend to all of the boring, unseen detail work for us. The problem is, however, that our representatives now receive plenty of feedback, input, and advice from lobbyists and other special interests on this detail work that continues to go unseen by the voters.

Congressmen are supposed to be the employees of their constituents; instead, they're effectively working for their campaign contributors. Oh, and they steal from us every single day, or more correctly, they're stealing from our kids and grandkids.

Posted by: Augustus on February 4, 2006 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Damn Ten -- the dems should have use that "Lobbyists Gone Wild" theme in some national ads. Get Will Farell to do the voice over.

Posted by: sk1llz on February 4, 2006 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Augustus: Mark Twain wrote in the mid 19th Century that the United States had the best Congress money could buy. Democracy is the worst possible system of government, except all others, said a well-known British statesman. Unfortunately, the US is left with only two parties, effectively, and that guarantees an oligarchy.

Posted by: Chris on February 4, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

That's Will Farrell not Farell of course and plenty of pixilation. A private jet trip to Scotland would be a good theme for the first video.

Posted by: sk1llz on February 4, 2006 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

chris : keep on pounding the truth home and get a bigger hammer . you said most of them are religious , and that is true ( every sunday morning ). MARK TWAIN
also said ( if congress had been in charge when GOD said let there be light ) we would not have had any!
WANDERER

Posted by: WANDERER on February 4, 2006 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Thou shall not take Sam L. in vain.

Match this for a precis: (on the Mississippi)

Too thick to drink; too thin to plow.

Posted by: CFShep on February 4, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

So, what would it cost U.S. industry in terms of money and jobs if the tighter particulate standards were adopted? Agriculture? Diesel transportation?

Just asking. Environmentalists rarely do.

A lot of the documentation on this, including the various CASCA comments, can be found here.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 4, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Whoops. Make that "CASAC." Direct link to their stuff here.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 4, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Tbrosz, that's not QUITE the same thing as the EPA's administrator actually distorting the scientific facts stated to him by the committee -- which, of course, is what they're accusing him of doing.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on February 4, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

You can find more documentation by going here.

Under Key Words, enter "OAR20010017" Hopefully, it will work. Government search sites are notoriously lousy at giving me direct links.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 4, 2006 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

So, what would it cost U.S. industry in terms of money and jobs if the tighter particulate standards were adopted

Ooh ooh I know! Call on me!

The costs are completely dependant upon whether or not competitors in other parts of the world (that aren't required to meet particulate standards of any type) are given free trade access to the same markets. To keep the jobs and money we need to come up with pollution controls that actually save companies money (efficiency, new equipment) or we need to out pollute the industrial cities of southeast asia.

Posted by: sk1llz on February 4, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Wow! tbroz found the docket! And the SAB's web site, too!! That's right-wing scholarship for ya. One wonders if he actually read any of the comments

Posted by: jlo on February 4, 2006 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

jlo:

At least I looked for the documentation, as opposed to simply happily accepting whatever flows from the kidneys of the L. A. Times.

Did you read the CASAC documents, and look at the graphs?

Posted by: tbrosz on February 4, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Agree with the "Go, Seahawks!"

The Republicans and Bush will not rest until the United States of America is a third world country.

Posted by: Mazurka on February 4, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Just another plank to throw on the corruption, cronyism, crooks, and special interests campaign fire.

Don't forget that the job cuts in the DOE are primarily centered on the alternative energy departments, even as Bush is proclaiming in the State of the Union our desire to promote these sectors...

Posted by: Jimm on February 4, 2006 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

tbroz:So, what would it cost U.S. industry in terms of money and jobs if the tighter particulate standards were adopted? Agriculture? Diesel transportation?

Just asking. Environmentalists rarely do.

Just as polluters rarely call up the numbers for the costs associated with asthma or chronic pulmonary obstructive disease?

Why exactly do ya'll continue to rise to the bait of this idiot? Just asking.

Posted by: CFShep on February 4, 2006 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz, the great naysayer...

Nice little soundbite-ready, vague yet forceful putdown of serious concerns. Next question please!

So what exactly is an environmentalist, tbrosz? Is it a tie-dyed hippy who's chained himself to a tree or is it a highly-trained researcher who's devoted 10, 20, 30 years to an area of specialty? If it's the latter, why would she/he just make shit up? Because they hate republicans? Because they hate American business? You must have some theories.

You seem to be saying that economic discomfort is too much price to pay for clean air, healthy forests, species diversity, etc.

Do your children agree with you?

Posted by: snowy s.o.b. on February 4, 2006 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

EPA staffers told the panel Friday that they were gathering new studies to evaluate before a final decision was made. Karen Martin of the EPA's Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards said there would not be time for the panel or public to comment on the EPA's future findings on the new studies before the rules were finalized.

Sounds like the EPA has some kick ass ringer scientists reviewing new data. And they'll get the final word. shh! nmph! zip it! zuckle on my zipple! zippy longstockings!

It brings new meaning to the term scientific debate and answers that long standing question -- what happened to all those young Republicans that completed their rotation in the green zone?

Posted by: B on February 4, 2006 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

You seem to be saying that economic discomfort is too much price to pay for clean air, healthy forests, species diversity, etc.

It's a balance. And finding that balance is what the EPA is for, otherwise the entire agency would consist of one guy who issued a one-page law that stated that the permissible level of man-made pollution is zero.

From the remarks of Deborah Shprentz, American Lung Association:

As you know, under the Clean Air Act, NAAQS must protect public health with an adequate margin of safety. The standards must be based on the latest scientific knowledge. As the goals which define clean air, NAAQS must be set without regard to costs, technical feasibility, or extent of nonattainment areas. They are purely healthbased and science-based standards. Under the Clean Air Act, the standards must be precautionary, to protect against any anticipated effects. Uncertainty argues for more protective standards, not less.

That's admirable. But if mines or other industries go out of business, she's going to read about it in the paper, over a cup of Fair Trade coffee, and that's going to be about it.

Poverty isn't healthy either, and a lot more people die from that than from pollution.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 4, 2006 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

Well tbrosz has said exactly what I wanted to say. What do you want? Clean air or food on the table?

Posted by: tbrosz on February 4, 2006 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Bottom line - Steve Johnson, a career employee before he was made administrator, has sold his soul to the devil. And for what? To be able to sit in on cabinet meetings?

Posted by: Alvord on February 4, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

Clean air or food on the table?

You can have both, within reason.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 4, 2006 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Clean air or food on the table?

don't forget the third choice . . . birth control

Posted by: B on February 4, 2006 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

Clean air or food on the table?

Actually, both would be easy. It's clean air, food on the table, plasma TV's, x-boxes, SUV's, RV's, 4000 sq. ft. homes, etc. that may no longer be attainable. Like, define poverty first.

It would be nice if you defenders of rampant capitalism + low taxes expressed concerns about poverty generally and not only as a specific rebuttal to "environmentalists".

It's a balance.

What balance? Our planet keeps getting degraded so we can load up with more and more consumer junk (and the oligarchic sliver gets more and more obscenely rich). Where does this end?

Posted by: snowy s.o.b. on February 4, 2006 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

don't forget the third choice . . . birth control

brosz control would be a start to cleaning up the environment.

Posted by: C on February 4, 2006 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz arguing/agreeing with tbrosz...

How postmodern.

Posted by: snowy s.o.b. on February 4, 2006 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

tbroz: yeah, I did. Despite differences of opinion, it sure seems as if they came to enough of a consensus in the end. What's biting your butt? The disagreement regarding an annual average standard for PM2.5? Besides, all the noise, if you read Bart Ostro's presentation carefully, is about the crap that got inserted into the standard-setting post-peer review.

Posted by: jlo on February 4, 2006 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

may no longer be attainable

Actually I'd like to revise that to may have to be scaled back or reimagined for a generation or two as a new kind of economy gets built.

Pretending pollution's OK seems kind of defeatist to me.

Posted by: snowy s.o.b. on February 4, 2006 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz, maybe you should stop defending the administration when it is willfully distorting scientific data to cover its own ass. Until you can do that, the rest of your statement have no moral relevance.

Posted by: Constantine on February 4, 2006 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

All I do is to express my considered judgment on the basis of objective data and the years of experience that I have as a leading scientist working for NASA. On matters of science, I couldn't care less if anyone else was the President.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 4, 2006 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

"Some" panel members are objecting.


Meanwhile, troubles in the Libby prosecution:

http://www.americanthinker.com/articles.php?article_id=5220

The indictment's ok, but proof beyond a reasonable doubt is going to be difficult.

Posted by: contentious on February 4, 2006 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

snowy:

Environmentalists are great at legislating scarcity on other people's consumer goods. When you go to a meeting of people complaining about America using up the resources, the parking lot is full of cars.

I'm assuming you don't live in a yurt. Do you own a car? A TV? You obviously own a computer.

Environmentalism is a luxury only rich countries can afford. We're lucky we have enough surplus wealth to clean up our environment. A lot of countries don't.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 4, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, the Fox is guarding, and at war with, the Henhouse.

I think we know what the Bushies think about government. It's one big gravy train. Only naive wimps bypass a chance to jump on the gravy train.

Throw the bums out.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on February 4, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: how can we have "balance" and both clean air and food within reason, etc., etc. if there is no honest debate, no honest sharing of data, no honest anything?

Aren't you a little displeased that the EPA is not allowed to do it's job under the Bushies? This is your tax money too, I don't get it.

You statements sound ideological, like you have a problem with "environmentalists".

Question: do you think we need an EPA?

Another question: do you think we need NASA? Now? In the past?

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on February 4, 2006 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Environmentalism is a luxury only rich countries can afford. We're lucky we have enough surplus wealth to clean up our environment. A lot of countries don't.
Posted by: tbrosz

what exactly is the point of this verbal diarrhea??? you obviously aren't interested in actually engaging in this luxury, so why persist as if you care? spend your tax cuts, you fucking simp. ...

if you're unwilling to protest the hijacking of science by these rightwing bush-fellating hacks, then you're less than worthless as a scientist. ... which, as system designer, I'm not sure you're qualified to call yourself.

Posted by: Nads on February 4, 2006 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

The physical changes in the ice caps and the melting of permafrost are not political footballs, they are realities that have already started to affect teh lives of real people. We have violated the laws of physics and we are being punished.

For the record, I own a hybrid but I drive less than 300 miles per month. I don't drive in the city, I do drive to get out of the city on weekends. But during the week, I either ride my bike, walk, or take the bus.

I hate going to a Sierra Club meeting and being one of only two or three people who arrived on the bus or by bicycle. Mostly the lot is full of cars and few of them pass green-muster. If they didn't give out such cool backpacks as their join-up swag, I might not even join...

Posted by: Global Citizen on February 4, 2006 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Toys R Us thinks he is a marvelous scientist - he makes some of their finest rockets
It is tough "burning out his fuse out there alone" in the garage designing toys.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 4, 2006 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

I will declare Jihad upon the ones who are posting under the fake 'tbrosz' handle.

Most merciful Allah believes the one named tbrosz is his most trusted servant on Earth, dividing the people and preparing the world for the conquerors of Islam.

Most merciful Allah thinks he has some pretty good ideas on clean food, but some of the other posters have made good points as well.

It is hard to declare Jihad when the infidels all agree and then agree to disagree.

Posted by: Ibrahim al-Rider el Pale on February 4, 2006 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

NASA - Very necessary--brings in many benefits we use every day. The solution to tomorrow's problems is likely being found because of research made possible by NASA.

EPA - Very necessary, but should never be politicized. It should be taken from the hands of political fools and hacks.

Dept. of Education - Dismantle it. Islam is the true religion, and only men need education.

Jihad - against the infidel, in the name of Allah, and stop printing those doggone cartoons. Every time someone does, another embassy gets burned down and them's expensive, dawg.

Blogs - Totally unnecessary. In the days of early Jihad, the infidels wrote seven page single-spaced letters to such profane publications as the NYT and the Boston Globe. Now, they post on blogs, profaning the name of holy Islam and making crude jokes at the expense of the Prophet.

tbrosz - the next best thing to fishsticks.

Posted by: Ibrahim al-Rider el Pale on February 4, 2006 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

Someone may have already posted this, but to an article Josh Marswhall linked to, NASA says the Big Bang has to be identified as "just a theory" too. Which of coourse it is, but still . . .

Posted by: Mimikatz on February 4, 2006 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz>Environmentalists are great at legislating scarcity on other people's consumer goods. When you go to a meeting of people complaining about America using up the resources, the parking lot is full of cars.

I don't have a car, by choice, for that reason. So there's one counter example. Switched from flying cessnas to sailing partially for the same reason.

But the trouble is, that makes me a bit of a chump. I'm only really saving, at best, half the asphalt sprawl and fuel burn it would appear, because the roads are less full, and gas prices under that tiny bit less pressure.

Reducing consumer consumption is a classic tradgedy of the commons problem. It only works if nearly everybody does it at once, by agreement. Transit is only there if the economies of scale (users per square mile) are there, burning less oil is only effective if the supply is constricted by taxes or slowing extraction.

So I don't judge those gas-car driving enviros so much, and I focus my lobbying efforts deliberately on things that will increase the cost of the materials that go into consumer goods, and making driving more of a pain in the ass.

So it's a perfectly rational strategy. More so than my own not burning fuel, which is really just tilting at windmills and makes me look at "light truck" drivers as vandals and cheaters.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on February 4, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

"Big Bang = Theory"

Well, we all know why, because it doesn't jibe with the book of Genesis. But the truth is ... the big bang is a theory and is actually just a probable consequence of the mathematics of General Relativity and our observations of the edge of the universe.

Posted by: Dilapidus on February 4, 2006 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

I'm assuming you don't live in a yurt. Do you own a car? A TV? You obviously own a computer.

So in order to qualify as an environmentalist you need to be living a paleolithic existence hunting and gathering on the outskirts of town -- to which you've walked or bicycled?

Ridiculous strawmen as usual, stuffed into their patched overalls with sad looks sewn on their faces for having been violated so brutally.

As our population and consumption growth put a higher and higher premium on arable land, potable water, and breathable air, we simply cannot afford not to be environmentally minded. Fish stocks are down 90% since 1950, due to both overfishing and pollution. Arable land is disappearing at an alarming rate, and we're already passing sustainable food production here in the U.S. due to overdevelopment, soil erosion, and soil depleted of nutrients by overfarming. And water shortages due to drought and overpopulation are happening worldwide and will become more severe.

These are just a few of the very serious problems facing the planet.

The idea that somehow we can burn and dump and dig and transfer at our level of population with little thought to environmental effects so we can pad our 401(k)'s is not only the worst example of petulant selfishness, it is nothing less than slow mass suicide by inattention and denial.

The choice isn't between clean air or food on the table -- its's between clean air and food on the table or a polluted environment and no food on the table in the long run.

And just think, with all the strawmen you're able to produce you could open your own biomass powerplant.

Posted by: Windhorse on February 4, 2006 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

Windhorse:

I'm just a little tired of people pointing to "plasma TV's" and "SUV's," as the cause of all our ills. Back when I was in college, the electric toothbrush was the symbol of the Wasteful West.

Bruce doesn't have a car. The person who posts as "Dad" described how he has reduced his personal consumption on another thread. Whatever you might say about Ralph Nader, you didn't see him flying around in personal jets to tell other people to save the Earth. Good for them.

Maybe a lot of the people on this thread do live in cabins with a windmill providing power to their computer. Somehow, I doubt it.

I like living in an advanced society. I like cars, heated homes in the winter, hot water when I want it, and flush toilets. I like widescreen TV, computers, and being able to go down the road to find twenty restaurants from all different nations. I like having the electricity on all the time. I like my microwave, glass-top stove, and dishwasher. I like being able to go to the coffeeshop and flip open my laptop.

I like living somewhere where my kids stand a good chance of living to adulthood. A lot of people made a lot of advancements to get me here.

I support pursuing ideas for energy and resources that will keep this state of affairs going into the foreseeable future, and I believe this can be accomplished without wrecking the environment. I suspect this is true for almost everyone else in the U.S. that isn't consumed by class envy. Tell the average American they can't have their car and dishwasher any more, and see how far you get.

I don't know exactly what happened with the EPA standards. If the problem was that the tighter standards would have been too much of an economic hit, they should have come out and said so, and showed some numbers. But economics is a valid reason for balancing practical standards against the ideals.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 4, 2006 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

Strawmen, hell. Tbrosz has transcended mere straw men. Today he's using a Switchgrass Man Argument.

Energy research produces jobs. Hybrid cars don't build themselves. Biomass fuel production and every other enviro-friendly industry puts people to work. If coal miners have to find modern jobs in environmentally-friendly industries that are less likely to kill them, this will be a difficult transition for them, but it's no different from what workers in every other archaic industry are going through in our globalized economy.

It's interesting how conservatives, who are so willing to ship union jobs overseas to boost Wal-Mart profits, suddenly get all weepy and compassionate for the fate of workers whose jobs are imperiled by clean air legislation. Very interesting, indeed.

Posted by: Violet on February 4, 2006 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz> I like living in an advanced society....I support pursuing ideas for energy and resources that will keep this state of affairs going into the foreseeable future, and I believe this can be accomplished without wrecking the environment.

Then there's some basis for agreement, but disagreement as to how far we are from those goals.

We could be doing a far better job than we are now. The corporate sector / GOP tends to supress data it doesn't like (also a fault, tho I beleive less so, of the left), and the left likes to "pick winners" in terms of solutions, generally a mistake (also a fault, tho less so, of the right).

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on February 4, 2006 at 8:38 PM | PERMALINK

"But economics is a valid reason for balancing practical standards against the ideals."

I would not dispute that tbrosz. Not today, not twenty years ago, not thirty years ago.

But what about my question? Do you think we need an EPA? IF so, should the EPA be staffed by professionals who are allowed to do their jobs? These are not difficult questions.


Posted by: little ole jim from red country on February 4, 2006 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

Is this the same wingnut Cal/EPA that recently determined secondhand smoke put women at greater risk than smoking in regards to getting cancer. The same agency that also said second hand smoke was more dangerous than diesel exhaust. It seems any reasonable person would agree that their science is agenda driven and not worth it's weight in hot air.

Posted by: Fat White Guy on February 4, 2006 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

FWG,

When the Bush administration stops hiring 24-year-old hacks to tell NASA scientists the remove references to the big bang and give weight to the feelings of creationists-- or when you start condemning the bush administration for doing that-- I'll give a flip about your Bush-loving opinion of the EPA. Until then, keep your worthless opinions to yourself.

Posted by: Constantine on February 4, 2006 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

I'll give a flip about your Bush-loving opinion of the EPA. Until then, keep your worthless opinions to yourself.

Posted by: Constantine

It is not an opinion asshole. Since they just had a news release that classed secondhand smoke in the same category as automotive exhaust. They also said that second hand smoke inreased the risk of women getting breast cancer.(which the AMA says is not supported by science or fact).

You are a typical lefty that can only ridicule and insult when you have no real response to offer. I love it!


Posted by: Fat White Guy on February 4, 2006 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

I like cars, heated homes in the winter, hot water when I want it, and flush toilets. I like widescreen TV, computers, and being able to go down the road to find twenty restaurants from all different nations. I like having the electricity on all the time.

If you like electricity on all the time, you should be concerned about diminished rainfall and shrinking snowpacks affecting the availability of hydroelectric power. You should also be concerned about these being results of global warming, and about the lack of a viable alternative energy source.

If you like your home heated in the winter, you should be concerned about diminishing natural gas reserves due to lack of conservation, no real alternative in heating fuels when it becomes expensive and scarce, and energy inefficient homes that make conservation impractical for many.

Anyway, it's clear that your litany of "likes" is just another strawman tactic, implying that bogeymen environmentalists like me are trying to take away everyone's plasma tv's and exotic cuisine. For the record, I've eaten Indian, Chinese and Thai this week. Does that lower my Treehugger Threat Level to Defcon 2, or am I just a hypocrite for not sustaining myself solely on nuts and berries?

Tell the average American they can't have their car and dishwasher any more, and see how far you get.

Yes, we environmentalists tell people these things all the time. We just can't help ourselves. Why just this afternoon while lurking about in Bed, Bath, and Beyond Conspicuous Consumption I grabbed a woman by her lapels and screamed "Lady, give up your microwave or else! And your car, get rid of your damn car!" Then in a fit of spontaneous environmental terrorism I slashed her tires so she had to walk home -- but gave her an organic Powerbar for sustenance along the way.

I don't know why we do it. I guess it's a kind of compulsion. Is it because we want attention? Didn't get enough love as children? Is it all of our class envy?

Bleh.

Maybe a lot of the people on this thread do live in cabins with a windmill providing power to their computer. Somehow, I doubt it.

If there wasn't one person currently alive on the planet living up to an ideal of sustainable living, it wouldn't make the ideal any less valid, noble, or necessary. My personal observations suggest to me that many people do not live up to the professed ideals of their faiths. I'd say they don't even come close in most cases. Does that mean their religion is a sham?

I don't think so.

As Bruce pointed out, unless everyone begins to take responsibility for transitioning to a sustainable society, it won't make enough of a difference anyway. If the energy prices following Katrina and Rita aren't wake up calls, I don't know what is. Violet made a great point about the economic dynamics; there won't be a fishing industry when there are no fish left, utility companies will collapse when people can no longer afford to pay their bills, people won't give a shit about their plasma televisions when food shortages cause the prices to skyrocket -- and on and on and on. But we can develop entirely new industries and begin addressing conservation, energy production, and environmental issues at the same time.

I support pursuing ideas for energy and resources that will keep this state of affairs going into the foreseeable future, and I believe this can be accomplished without wrecking the environment.

I believe this can be accomplished as well -- by transforming the way we currently do things. However, we're wrecking the environment with the status quo while you're arguing that everything is fine, look over there.

That's like closing your eyes before the oncoming car hits you. Hold on tight to that Starbucks and buckle down the laptop, it's gonna be a bumpy ride.

Posted by: Windhorse on February 4, 2006 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

I'm still waiting, apparently in vain, for Tbrosz to respond to the actual point of the damn article -- which is not that economic considerations shouldn't also be weighed when you're trying to decide whether to write new environmental regulations to improve people's health, but that the panel of scientists assigned to write the report on the health effects of NOT reducing particulates say flatly that the EPA LIED ABOUT WHAT THEY TOLD IT IN THEIR REPORT.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on February 4, 2006 at 11:31 PM | PERMALINK

I'm still waiting, apparently in vain, for Tbrosz to respond to the actual point...

He did reply, Bruce. First he used misdirection with his musings-on-other-things, then he attacked the source of the article to discredit it, and then finally he implied by his silence that it's necessary for the EPA to lie about these things in order to help American businesses save money.

Posted by: Windhorse on February 4, 2006 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK

More fun with science from the Bush administration:

The Big Bang memo came from Mr. Deutsch, a 24-year-old presidential appointee in the press office at NASA headquarters whose rsum says he was an intern in the "war room" of the 2004 Bush-Cheney re-election campaign. A 2003 journalism graduate of Texas A&M, he was also the public-affairs officer who sought more control over Dr. Hansen's public statements.

In October 2005, Mr. Deutsch sent an e-mail message to Flint Wild, a NASA contractor working on a set of Web presentations about Einstein for middle-school students. The message said the word "theory" needed to be added after every mention of the Big Bang.

The Big Bang is "not proven fact; it is opinion," Mr. Deutsch wrote, adding, "It is not NASA's place, nor should it be to make a declaration such as this about the existence of the universe that discounts intelligent design by a creator."

It continued: "This is more than a science issue, it is a religious issue. And I would hate to think that young people would only be getting one-half of this debate from NASA. That would mean we had failed to properly educate the very people who rely on us for factual information the most."

Personally, I'm outraged that NASA doesn't teach us that the universe was created out of Ymir's skull by Odin. Aren't we failing young people by omitting that possibility?

And why aren't we using all those probes and high-powered telescopes to search for angels or heaven? Then we could just get all the answers directly from God and we wouldn't need crappy old science anymore, right?

Only twenty-four year old Bush campaign workers know for sure.

Posted by: Windhorse on February 5, 2006 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

I'm just a little tired of people pointing to "excessive salted pork consumption" and "wagon burning" as the cause of all our ills. Back when I was in Iowa, killing buffalo for their tounges was the symbol of the "Wasteful West".

I like living in a society where I don't have to behave like a savage. I like candles, heated tents in the winter, hot coffee when I want it, and honest to goodness pit toilets. I like drinking, gambling, and being able to ride my horse down the road to find twenty prostitutes from all different nations. I like having running water all the time. I like my Franklin stove, steel pots and pans, and the luxury of having borates to wash my clothes with. I like being able to go to the saloon and slap down a penny for one of the whores to play the piano.

This snow storm can't last forever and those of you that are complaining about my use of "dwindling resources" are just jealous of my wealth. We're less than 30 miles from Reno, there's plenty of natives around to ask for help if we really needed it, and I for god damned sure am not going to "ration" my salted pork because of your estimation that we'll run out of food in a few days. Any balanced assessment would take into account the fact that I'm hungry and will get very grumpy if inconvenienced by any more of this rationing nonsense.

Posted by: tbrosz's great great uncle on February 5, 2006 at 4:48 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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