Saturday, June 28, 2003



Posted By on Sat, Jun 28, 2003 at 4:00 AM

You've got to hand it to those clever little problem-solvers at the White House. What a bunch of brainiacs. They have resolved the entire problem of global warming: They cut it out of the report! This is genius. Everybody else is maundering on about the oceans rising and the polar icecaps melting and monster storms and hideous droughts, and these guys just ... edit it out. "The editing eliminated references to many studies concluding that warming is at least partly caused by rising concentrations of smokestack and tailpipe emissions, and could threaten health and ecosystems," reports The New York Times. Presto -- poof! What do they care about health and ecosystems? Think of the possibilities presented by this ingenious solution. Let's edit out AIDS and all problems with drugs both legal and illegal. We could get rid of Libya and Syria this way -- take Ôem off the maps. We can do away with unemployment, the uninsured, heart disease, obesity and the coming Social Security crunch. We could try editing out death and taxes, but I don't think we should overreach right away. Just start with something simple, like years of scientific research on global warming, and blue pencil that sucker out of existence. Denial is not just a river in Egypt. Inspiring as the remarkable Bush approach to resolving global warming is -- the simplicity of it, the beauty of it, I cannot get over it -- does it not suggest a certain cavalier je ne sais quoi about the future? What I mean is, is anybody there concerned about what happens to people? I realize the energy industry and auto industry and other major campaign contributors would prefer to think global warming does not exist, but how long do you think it will take before reality catches up with all of us? The White House editors (hi, Karl) instead chose to insert a new study on global non-warming funded by ... ta-da! ... the American Petroleum Institute. Dear old API, author of innumerable ringing editorials on the desperate need to leave the oil depletion allowance at 27 percent (certain Texas newspapers that shall remain nameless used to run those editorials without changing a single comma), is really swell at representing the oil bidness. Fond as I am of many of API lobbyists I have known over the years, I am not quite sure I want those bozos calling the shots on global warming. I have watched them buy law and bend regulations for decades now, and while I admire their chutzpah, I am impelled to warn you: They have no scruples, they have no decency, and they have no shame. (See 50 years worth of reporting on the industry by The Texas Observer.) Also, they lie. Well now, danged if that doesn't bring us to the subject of lying and the White House. Let us set aside the vexing case of the missing weapons of mass destruction and focus on a few items closer to home. Anyone remember President Bush's 2002 State of the Union Address? No, no, not the one where he said Iraq had a nuclear weapons program. The one where he said he was going to expand AmeriCorps by 50 percent, from 50,000 up to 75,000, because giving all those young people a chance to work their way through college by doing good for the community is so noble and effective. "USA Freedom Corps will expand and improve the good efforts of AmeriCorps and Senior Corps to recruit more than 200,000 new volunteers," he said. Last week, Bush and Republicans in Congress cut AmeriCorps by 80 percent. According to Jonathan Alter in Newsweek, Congress, under pressure, restored some of it, but it still leaves Americorps with a 58 percent cut and tens of thousands of fewer participants out there teaching poor kids to read, helping old folks in nursing homes, setting up community gardens, and a thousand other good and useful tasks -- many of which get the young people started on careers in that kind of work. Alter notes that restoring AmeriCorps to its current level would take $185 million, about one-half of one percent of the president's latest tax cut for the rich. The radical Republicans in Congress, apparently egged on by a Heritage Foundation study from April 2003, have decided AmeriCorps is (gasp, shudder) What have these people got against national service? Speaking of said same tax cut, too bad about the children of the working poor. Congress just announced it's too busy to get around to the restoring the child tax credit to 6.5 million low-income families (known to The Wall Street Journal as "lucky duckies" because, you see, they pay little or no income tax. They only pay 19 percent of their meager incomes in other taxes.). FYI: If you put "George W. Bush" and "lies" into the Google search engine, you get 250,000 references in nine-tenths of a second.

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