IBI Watch 6/19/11

19 06 2011

IBI Watch 6/19/11

Surveying the Field

Yes, it is way early.  And yes, I think one of the main problems we have in our modern American system is our seemingly endless election cycle.  Just the same, with the sluggish economy, and the fact that Republicans are so obviously not collaborating with Democrats to restore economic health, it’s possible we could end up with a Republican president in January 2013.

In a rational universe, with a rational Republican Party, the clear frontrunner would be the former governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney.  And in truth, to progressives such as myself, Romney would arguably be the least scary of the current declared and hinting crowd.  But rational this isn’t.  Romney has to run against his past success, as a moderate governor of the most liberal state in the US.  And there is that religion problem.  Many think that no way, no how, will the Republicans, in the thrall of conservative Christians as they are, nominate a Mormon.  So it pays to be ready.

In no particular order, here are some interesting developments on several of the players.

Tim Pawlenty

It’s almost time to stop talking about Minnesota’s ex-gov.  There he was at the big debate this week, coming off a clever, headline-grabbing broadside at the Republicans’ heir apparent.  You have to admit, ‘Obamneycare’ has a certain ring to it.  But on stage, our boy Tim just could not bring himself to say it to Romney’s face.  So, there went the Brawny Towels Guy look-alike’s  hopes.  And good thing, too.  First two links talk about what a President TPaw might have meant for us.  The other links are, well, just fun.

http://thinkprogress.org/tag/tim-pawlenty

http://front.moveon.org/why-tim-pawlenty-is-bad-for-america/?rc=fb.fan

http://www.startribune.com/opinion/cartoons/123869379.html

http://ishouldbelaughing.blogspot.com/2011/03/sunday-funnies.html

http://www.theonion.com/articles/tim-pawlenty-shaves-off-every-hair-on-his-body-in,20730/

Mitt Romney

You have not read this far in order to review Romney’s policy positions, have you?  Good.  Perhaps you did not know that the guy is a comedian.  Heh, heh.  The second link is more sober.  It asks an important question – Why is it so hard for someone with religious views outside the mainstream (or no religious affiliation at all for that matter) to get elected to national office in this country?  Why indeed.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/atlantic/20110614/pl_atlantic/romneyplayslaughsnewhampshire38823_1

http://www.alternet.org/belief/151267/there_are_10_times_as_many_atheists_as_mormons%3A_when_will_non-believers_become_a_political_force/

Michele Bachmann

With the media and blogosphere abuzz about how the Minnesota congresswoman was the big success story of the debate, it is helpful to review some past quotes.  This is a public service, folks.

http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/?id=618220&t=bachmann%27s_latest_conspiracy_theory_is_a_doozy

http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2011/06/16/246618/bachmann-craziest-quotes/

Waiting in the Wings

With Romney’s prospects shaky, and the rest of the crowd unlikely to rise up in the long run, the party will probably look to a savior – someone who jumps in later.  Smart money is on one of these guys – Texas Governor Rick Perry, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie or even former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.  God help us.  Here is some background and opinion on what we could be in for.  As Slim Pickens called out on his ride in Doctor Strangelove, Yee-hah!!!  (Check the first link for the connection)  Second link is a very funny Bill Maher piece, mainly on Perry, who BTW is W’s successor as Texas gov.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/05/10/national/main20061383.shtml

http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/?akid=7134.118266.OAy6RH&id=618217&rd=1&t=3

http://www.alternet.org/news/151325/texas_is_a_shining_example_of_right-wing_governance_in_action_and_that%27s_why_it%27s_a_complete_basket-case/

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/06/christie_refuses_to_reimburse.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/09/chris-christie-2012_n_859302.html

http://washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/op-eds/2011/05/right-should-hope-jeb-bush-rethinks-2012-race-0

Connecting Dots for those Short of Time

Got three minutes?  Good. That gives you time to fill your coffee cup, and come back to see Robert Reich – former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton years – connect all the economic dots.  This is brilliant, and needs to be seen by everyone.  First – check these dots.  Then watch the linked video to see how Reich connects them – with quick-draw talent to boot!

  1. Economy doubles since 1980, but wages flat.
  2. All gains from the economy go to the super rich.
  3. With money comes political power.
  4. Huge budget deficits.
  5. Middle class divided.
  6. Anemic recovery.

http://front.moveon.org/scribbling-sharpie-illustrates-the-truth-about-our-economy/

 

Bicycle Commuting – Two Countries, Two Views

Of course I am not suggesting that you can characterize an entire country’s climate by two examples, two web sites or two of anything else.  Just the same, this comparison should cure anyone of the idea that Canada is dramatically easier on bike commuters.  You may find it hard to believe the mayor of Toronto in the first story’s imbedded video.  Do you think he is a little hostile to the two-wheelers?  Still , the big fellow does at least have a self-deprecating sense of humor.  As for me, I rarely have troubles with motorists on my bike commute.  Of course, I obey all the traffic laws, and don’t share a road with Mr. Ford.  Second link is a useful forum for US bike commuters – current and prospective.

http://www.theworld.org/2011/06/canada-tea-party-toronto-rob-ford/

http://www.bikecommuters.com/

 

Climate Destabilization – Science and Willful Ignorance

Scientists tell us, overwhelmingly, that we are playing with fire when it comes to our carbon emissions.  Climate history, gleaned from ice cores and sediment deposits, indicates that atmospheric carbon tracks with higher temperatures. And yet we continue to pour it on – carbon dioxide in the atmosphere climbs one to two parts per million per year.  It is a vast, uncontrolled, unpredictable science experiment.

First link – it looks like a climate site that is a bit skeptical.  Hey – it’s a climate wiki.  Cute.  And its first entry is the obligatory Gore-bashing.  But its biggest strength is its list of ‘resources.’  The second link is the top site on the wiki’s list – it is just about the best-known bastion of balderdash.  I am guessing that these resources formed a major part of the ‘education’ that Minnesota State Senator Michael Jungbauer touts in the imbedded video at the third link.  This is the face of willful ignorance.  If you read Don Shelby’s Minnpost story and watch Jungbauer’s video, you will be amazed.  How much arrogance does it take for this guy to feign a friendly demeanor, and dismiss all the real science telling us we need to cut our emissions?  And what audacious dishonesty, to simply say “I am not convinced,” and pretend that something could convince him otherwise.  And what a system, that allows this puffed-up foolishness to short-circuit progress.  I’d love to buy this guy a one-way ticket to Tuvalu.  Especially considering that he has the means to enshrine his willful ignorance in Minnesota policy, from his position on the Senate Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee.  Next, a closer look at this amazing phenomenon – science denial.  Last links are antidotes – two are my favorite climate info sites, and the last is one of those articles that give hope.  Young people have to undo the godawful mess we boomers are leaving them.

http://www.climatewiki.org/wiki/Main_Page

http://www.globalwarmingheartland.org/full/29543/Review_How_Rising_Carbon_Dioxide_Benefits_Plant_Life.html

http://www.minnpost.com/donshelby/2011/06/15/29151/background_claims_by_state_senates_global-warming_skeptic_fail_to_check_out

http://www.alternet.org/environment/151264/why_the_right_wing%27s_denial_of_science_may_screw_all_of_us/

http://www.realclimate.org/

http://www.350.org/

http://www.rooseveltinstitute.org/new-roosevelt/call-address-climate-change-and-revitalize-american-communities-same-time

 

Solar Power More Powerful all the Time

NPR Science Friday ran a very informative story on the power of the future this week.  As always, a wealth of learning, with many links and resources.  Second link describes a solar power concentration tower in Spain.

http://www.sciencefriday.com/program/archives/201106173

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/15/concentrated-solar-power-_n_822895.html

 

A Cure for the Blues

Just because the pictures are breathtaking, beautiful and wild, take a look at this National Geographic gallery, Life in Color: Blue

http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/photography/photos/life-color-blue/?source=link_fb20110618lifeincolorblue

 

 

“When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.” – Mark Twain

 

 

Contributed links to this posting – Jeff Carlson, Mike Kuehn, Anna Maria Lopez, Brendan Murphy

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