If you follow the law according to the Bush Patriotic Speech Police or the Bush Anti-sedition League for Thought and Speech Control, then I am guilty. I confess, I did not vote for Bush the Junior. (For the record I also didn’t vote for his Daddy.) And I am not shy about telling anyone and everyone I can, whenever I can.
But I am only a little fish in the sea of sedition. Not so lucky are some women bridge players who had the audacity and lacked the timidity of many who are careful to not utter a word even suggesting that they are among the 50% of voters who also didn’t vote for Junior.
Like the Dixie Chicks before them, again some women spoke their mind. This time it was only some scribbled words on the back of a menu at an awards event. The offending words of heresy, “We did not vote for Bush“.
The whole story is in a NY Times article headlined, “Display of Anti-Bush Sign Has Competitive Bridge World in an Uproar”
Several sources are confirming that former Federal Judge Michael B Mukaseyis now Bush’s top choice to replace Gonzales. They suggest Bush may nominate him as early as tomorrow (Monday). The sources include William Kristol at the daily Standard.
Mukasey was included on our previous list of candidates being actively considered when we wrote Who’s Up Next to be Bush’s Attorney General?
Mukasey retired in September 2006 after almost two decades as a Federal Judge. He went back to his previous law firm, Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler. His listed areas of practice at the firm include litigation, white collar defense and investigations, media and entertainment and subprime mortgage.
The firm’s website states that:
“During his 18 years of service – including six as Chief Judge – Judge Mukasey presided over thousands of cases, including such high profile trials as that of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and 11 co-defendants, who were charged with plotting to destroy a number of New York City landmarks. He also presided over major cases involving the dispute between Larry Silverstein and his insurers concerning insurance proceeds related to the World Trade Center site and the Motion Picture Association of America’s ban on the distribution of new movies to critics and award panels, among many other notable cases.”
“BORN 1941 in the Bronx
FEDERAL JUDICIAL SERVICE Judge, U.S. District
Court, Southern District of New York 1987-2006, serving as chief judge from 2000 until retirement
EDUCATION Columbia University, A.B., 1963; Yale Law School,
PROFESSIONAL CAREER Private practice, New York City, 1967-1972
Assistant U.S. attorney, Southern District of New York, 1972-1976 Chief,
Official Corruption Unit, 1975-1976 Private practice, New York City, 1976-1987
RESIDENCES Manhattan and East Hampton”
One interesting post giving insight into Mukasey is that done by Glenn Greenwald today and posted at salon.com entitled “Michael Mukasey’s role in the Jose Padilla case” Greenwald notes that Mukasey was willing to defy Bush and rule based on the law and not on terrorist fears and assertions by Bush without legal basis in the Padilla case.
“Judge Mukasey repeatedly defied the demands of the Bush administration, ruled against them, excoriated them on multiple occasions for failing to comply with his legally issued orders, and ruled that Padilla was entitled to contest the factual claims of the government and to have access to lawyers. He issued these rulings in 2002 and 2003, when virtually nobody was defying the Bush administration on anything, let alone on assertions of executive power to combat the Terrorists. And he made these rulings in the face of what was became the standard Bush claim that unless there was complete acquiescence to all claimed powers by the President, a Terrorist attack would occur and the blood would be on the hands of those who impeded the President. “
Greenwald reminds us however that:
“There is no question that Judge Mukasey, a Reagan appointee who served as the Chief Judge for the Southern District of New York before retiring recently, is close to the far right on the judicial spectrum. He undoubtedly holds many legal and political views which most Democrats would find objectionable, perhaps even intolerable. But that will be true of any nominee Bush selects, and it is true of the current Acting Attorney General, Paul Clement, who will remain in place if no nominee is confirmed.”
The Bush Republican Administration, beholden to corporate interests over the public interest, has issued draft revisions to surface mining law to increase blowing up mountain tops to strip mine more coal. The draft rules authorize disposal of mine waste in valleys and streams, polluting water downstream, including underground aquifers, with toxic chemicals.
The Bill Moyers Journal last Friday did a special on this issue, covering the action by Evangelical Christians in West Virginia who have organized under the banner of Christians for the Mountains. They are fighting to protect their families, children and communities from rampant air and water pollution, including their drinking water.
Moyers quotes one member of Christians for the Mountains, Judy Bonds:”
There are three million pounds of explosives used a day just in West Virginia to blow the tops off these mountains. Three million pounds a day…To knock fly rock everywhere, to send silica and coal dust and rock dust and fly rock in our homes. I wonder which one of these mountains do you think God will come down here and blow up? Which one of these hollers do you think Jesus would store waste in? That’s a simple question. That’s all you have to ask.”
As John M Broder for the New York Times writes:
“Mountaintop mining is the most common strip mining in central Appalachia, and the most destructive. Ridge tops are flattened with bulldozers and dynamite, clearing all vegetation and, at times, forcing residents to move.
The coal seams are scraped with gigantic machines called draglines. The law requires mining companies to reclaim and replant the land, but the process always produces excess debris. Roughly half the coal in West Virginia is from mountaintop mining …”
The industry political connection, Broder says came about as follows:
“The Clinton administration began moving in 1998 to tighten enforcement of the stream rule, but the clock ran out before it could enact new regulations. The Bush administration has been much friendlier to mining interests, which have been reliable contributors to the Republican Party, and has worked on the new rule change since 2001.
The early stages of the revision process were supported by J. Stephen Griles, a former industry lobbyist who was the deputy interior secretary from 2001 to 2004. Mr. Griles had been deputy director of the Office of Surface Mining in the Reagan administration and is knowledgeable about the issues and generally supports the industry.
In June, Mr. Griles was sentenced to 10 months in prison and three years’ probation for lying to a Senate committee about his ties to Jack Abramoff, the lobbyist at the heart of a corruption scandal who is now in prison.”
Broder notes that the stream rule referred to is a critical issue:
The rule, which would apply to waste from both types of mines, is known as the stream buffer zone rule. First adopted in 1983, it forbids virtually all mining within 100 feet of a river or stream. …
The Army Corps of Engineers, state mining authorities and local courts have read the rule liberally, allowing extensive mountaintop mining and dumping of debris in coal-rich regions of West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. From 1985 to 2001, 724 miles of streams were buried under mining waste, according to the environmental impact statement accompanying the new rule. If current practices continue, another 724 river miles will be buried by 2018, the report says.
You can get a lot more information on this issue by going to the webpage set up by the Bill Moyers Journal. Go to references and reading.
You can read and give your comments on the proposed rule and draft Environmental Impact Statement by going to the website for the US Office of Surface Mining in the Interior Department. There is a 60 day comment period.
The glaring loopholes in this rule are obvious. Their August 24, 2007 press release says:
“All mining activities must still avoid increases in sedimentation and protect fish and wildlife and related environmental values “to the extent possible” using the “best technology currently available.” and “use the most environmentally protective alternative or explain why that alternative is not possible”
These rules really set no real conditions at all with such vague language. It’s totally up to those approving the permits. If you have mining industry people running the program as Bush currently does, then getting a permit really means little or nothing.
Workers at popcorn plants exposed to diacetyl have developed a rare lung disease known as bronchiolitis obliterans. This has been investigated since 2001 yet the Occupational Health and Safety Administration has not acted to protect workers health by coming up with workplace exposure regulations.
Now this week two cases have emerged of people developing “popcorn workers lung” as it is sometimes called. It can result in the need to have a lung transplant or death. One case was reported by a pulmonary specialist at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver of a 10 year twice a day microwave popcorn eater. The other potential case was of a son of a popcorn worker who received a huge amount of microwave popcorn from his job.
After years of inaction, including secretly seeing the results of an EPA microwave popcorn study last year, the popcorn industry is stampeding to the exits. Last week Weaver Popcorn Company of Indianapolis, Indiana announced that it was removing diacetyl, the suspected toxic ingredient, from microwave popcorn. Yesterday three more companies claim they will be jumping ship. ConAgra Foods Inc, General Mills, and American Popcorn Company said they would be removing diacetyl from their popcorn.
Last week I posted on this issue – “The Great Bush Toxic Popcorn Scandal” I noticed soon afterwards that my site , MajorityRulesBlog, had been visited by someone from ConAgra . If you Google on microwave popcorn and diacetyl you will see there is a lot of web activity on this issue.
Diacetyl is not just in popcorn but actually occurs in some food naturally, like milk and wine. The Dairy Industry is concerned of course but their website actually raised more questions.
The IDFA or International Daisry Foods Association notes that
“…diacetyl occurs naturally in some dairy products, and consumers may not realize that eating products with diacetyl poses no health risks. The health risk is associated with inhaling diacetyl that has been heated to temperatures over 100 degrees.
“Because of the nature of our products, dairy foods that contain diacetyl do not present a consumer or worker safety concern,” said Clay Detlefsen, IDFA vice president. “At colder temperatures, diacetyl attaches to the water molecules in dairy foods and never volatilizes or reaches the air.”
When used as artificial butter flavoring, diacetyl may be hazardous when heated and inhaled over a long period — such as in the production of microwave popcorn and some other heated food products. Some workers in factories that make the artificial flavoring have been diagnosed with bronchiolitis obliterns, also known as “popcorn workers lung,” which causes serious respiratory problems…
Diacetyl also occurs naturally in wine, particularly chardonnay, and is used as an additive in many baked goods, candies and snack foods as well as in some dairy products.”
Several additional questions arise. What other foods, besides popcorn, contain diacetyl and in what amounts? And what is the workplace exposure levels to diacetyl of workers that are preparing foods heated over 100 degrees – like baked goods? And what consumer danger is there from heating foods that contain diacetyl over 100 degrees like in a microwave or oven?
A just released study entitled “Bronchiolitis Obliterans Syndrome in Chemical Workers Producing Diacetyl for Food Flavorings” was published in the Sept 1, 2007 online edition of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
The study concludes: “Exposure to an agent during diacetyl production appears to be responsible for causing bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome in chemical process operators, consistent with the suspected role of diacetyl in downstream food production.”
Enough scientific evidence is accumulating that there is reason to be concerned about diacetyl in all food products, not just popcorn, that are microwaved or heated to high enough temperatures to vaporize diacetyl. And worker safety levels need to be put in place in chemical plants producing the buttery flavoring diacetyl and well as plants adding the chemical as flavoring for food.
Since the Bush Administration seems not interested in tacking worker and consumer health and safety issues regarding diacetyl, action needs to take place in Congress to investigate and take action. Some states like California are already looking at acting sooner rather than later.
Contact your Representatives in Congress and urge them to take action.
Follow Bill Clinton’s example – don’t inhale. Microwave popcorn releases toxic diacetyl vapors. This is the buttery aroma you smell when you open the bag. Don’t inhale, because the Bush Administration is continuing to cover up the scandal and is not acting to protect your health.
The New York Times today reports that a “Doctor Links a Man’s Illness to Microwave Popcorn.”
“Heated diacetyl becomes a vapor and, when inhaled over a long period of time, seems to lead the small airways in the lungs to become swollen and scarred. Sufferers can breathe in deeply, but they have difficulty exhaling. The severe form of the disease is called bronchiolitis obliterans or “popcorn workers’ lung,” which can be fatal.”
We wrote last week about “The Great Bush Toxic Popcorn Scandal.” This is new evidence damning the inaction of the Bush Administration in addressing a serious documented workplace hazard as well as a consumer health hazard.
Bush officials in the Environmental Protection Agency have measured the release of diacetyl from microwave popcorn but have not released the study to the public. The study was completed last year. The results were meanwhile given to the popcorn industry.
With this latest evidence and inaction we are obviously now in the throes of the “Great Bush Toxic Popcorn Cover-up“. The Bush team is obviously more intent on protecting corporate profits than alerting the public to the serious health risk of consumers being exposed to toxic diacetyl vapors.
This is the problem you get when you saturate the Federal bureaucracy, that is supposed to represent the public interest, with corporate and partisan politicians beholden to corporate interests as Bush has done. The Republican “Corporations First” policies of Bush is a disastrous one for our nation. Individual and worker concerns about health and safety are made subordinate to corporate profits.
As the Seattle PI wrote about last week and today, the Bush Administration is not acting on regulating and cleaning up the toxic workplace conditions that exist in industries like the popcorn industry. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health first investigated workers injured and dying in Midwest popcorn plants starting in 2001.
Despite serious life threatening workplace exposure to diacetyl, the Bush Administration, carrying out the conservative Republican Agenda to not regulate corporations, has not taken prudent action to protect worker safety and health. And now it appears that they are also ignoring the consumer health risk.
Consider these two statements quoted in today’s Seattle PI article.
Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., chairwoman of a work force protection subcommittee:
“The reported case of a consumer diagnosed with popcorn lung underscores the need for our public health agencies to take this hazard more seriously, not only for workers, but for consumers as well. While OSHA is dragging its feet over the numerous reports of workers who have died or suffered serious lung disease from exposure to diacetyl, this new case raises concerns that consumers may be at risk as well.”
As well as this comment:
Dr. David Egilman, an occupation medicine specialist, has examined and testified for many of the workers injured by diacetyl.
“People need to realize that these illness and deaths were completely preventable,” Egilman said. “They occurred because the companies who make these products hid the information on toxicity and control the regulatory process. … An emasculated government public health community that is subservient to corporate profits cannot protect us — even from popcorn”
I urge people to contact their Congressional representatives and urge action be taken to remove diacetyl form microwave popcorn, to put workplace protection in place for workers exposed to diacetyl and to ask that other foods with diacetyl in them that are heated or microwaved be investigated for possible health dangers.
The Seattle PI mentions that diacetyl is also in “potato chips, baked goods and candies, frozen food, artificial butter, cooking oils, beer, dog food and other items”
Tell Congress to take action to protect workers and consumers from the dangers of diacetyl in heated or microwaved foods. Click here to send a message to Congress.
Monday Bush’s damaged goods Attorney General Gonzales resigned with no one protesting or lamenting from either party. Any day now Bush could nominate a new candidate.
Here in Seattle the Seattle Times did a editorial supporting former conservative Washington State US Senator Slade Gorton who also served many years as Washington State’s Attorney General. David Postman reports that he is mentioned in a list by CNN.
We reported on some of the initial speculations of a possible successor. CNN reports that Larry Thompson is no longer being considered. Speculation is rife on Homeland Security Michael Chertoff while others speculate that the Hurricane Katrina fiasco dims his prospects considerably. Besides Gorton, they mention Ted Olsen, George Terwilliger, Lawrence Silberman, John Danforth and Asa Hutchinson.
The Washington Post on Wednesday reported that five names are under serious consideration at this time.
The effort to find a new Attorney General is being lead by Fred F Fielding – Bush’s White House Counsel and Joshua B Bolten – the White House Chief of Staff. They are trying to find people willing to step up to take over Bush’s battered Justice Department with its tattered image and credibility. They are trying to draft prospects and narrow the list down.
Currently under consideration according to the Washington Post:
Paul D Clement - is the current acting Attorney General and is the current Solicitor General for Bush. The Solicitor General is involved in cases before the US Supreme Court. Clement is a former clerk of Judge Silberman as well as Associate Justice Antio Scalia of the US Supreme Court. He is a staunch conservative, only 40 years old and a member of the Federalist Club. He was active in Bush vs Gore.
George J Terwilliger III – a former deputy Attorney General, he is a partner in White and Chase LLP in Washington DC. They note that “He was a leader on the legal team that represented President Bush and Vice President Cheney in the Florida recount of the 2000 Presidential election.”
Theodore B Olsen – was Bush’s Solicitor General from 2001 – 2004. You might call it payback for his efforts in getting the US Supreme Court to appoint Bush as President in 2000. On the Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher law firm’s website where he currently is, it says he “has argued 46 cases in the Supreme Court, including Bush v. Palm Beach County Canvassing Board and Bush v. Gore, stemming from the 2000 presidential election; prevailing in 75% of those arguments”
He is a member of the right wing judicial activist Federalist Society.
Michael B Mukasey – former chief judge of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. Mukasey retired last year at age 65, citing financial considerations as one reason. He earned $165,000 per year. He rejoined his old law firm, Patterson, Belknap, Webb and Tyler where partners can make $1 million or more a year. DC JobSource lists cabinet level salaries as only slightly more than his salary as a judge. The AG job would be a salary jump of less than $20,000 to $183,500.
Lawrence H S Silberman – senior judge on the US Court of Appeals for District of Columbia Circuit. First nominated to Court of Appeals by Ronald Reagan, went to Senior status in 2000. He is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown Law Center and a past visiting fellow for 8 years at the right wing American Enterprise Institute.
Silberman seems a questionable choice considering his background. As Salon has noted he “has been near the febrile center of the largest political scandals of the past two decades, from the rumored “October surprise” of 1980 and the Iran-contra trials to the character assassination of Anita Hill and the impeachment of President Clinton. Whenever right-wing conspiracies swing into action, Silberman is there.”
Kevin Philips has said, “In the past, Silberman has been more involved with coverups in the Middle East than with any attempts to unravel them.” Ralph Neas, president of the liberal advocacy group People for the American Way, calls him “the most partisan and most political federal judge in the country”
Four of the 5 names from the Washington Post were previously mentioned in a Wall Street Journal Law Blog post. The Washington Post added George Terwilliger III to the list.
Bet you thought the Environmental Protection Agency and other Federal Agencies worked for the public good? Wrong again. The EPA under Bush is just another Federal Agency working to protect corporate interests. This time its corporate popcorn profits.
After you read the story in the Seattle PI today you probably won’t want to eat any more microwavable popcorn. Remember the rush of hot moisture and vapor when you open the bag and how it smells “buttery”?
As headlined in the Seattle PI today, the chemical ingredient diacetyl, which is added to popcorn to give it a buttery taste, has been linked to “the sometime fatal destruction of the lungs of hundreds of workers in food production and flavoring factories.”
As the PI correspondent Andrew Schneider writes diacetyl is in thousands of consumer products including microwaved popcorn:
Despite the worker safety findings — and despite scores of jury decisions and settlements awarding millions of dollars to workers who sued after having their lungs destroyed by exposure to diacetyl — neither the Food and Drug Administration nor the Consumer Product Safety Commission have investigated. The FDA years ago declared the chemical safe for consumption. Labels on almost all products containing it call it a flavoring and only rarely do the labels mention diacetyl.
The only government investigators to examine whether consumers are at risk — whether diacetyl is released when consumers pop corn in their home microwaves, and if so, how much — is the Environmental Protection Agency. But to the frustration of many public health workers, the findings of the EPA’s study — which began in 2003 and was completed last year — have been released only to the popcorn industry.”
The Pi notes that ConAgra, the largest supplier of microwave popcorn in the world told the EPA in 2004 that it had found that diacetyl was released when microwave popcorn bags are opened. It told EPA that “it is imperative that the health and safety of this product be assured to the extent possible within the very near future”
Bush’s EPA seems to have complied with this corporate wish. If the public doesn’t know, then it must be safe. Even though the study was completed last year the public has not been told of the results.
And even if they are, these days with non scientists in the Bush Administration rewriting and controlling the release of scientific studies it will be hard to discern what the actual study results found. And as the PI notes, this particular study was even done with industry involvement. Unfortunately it is also a limited study, not looking at health effects , only amounts of chemicals released.
And these releases to workers have been fatal. As the PI reports further diacetyl in food manufacturing plants “been linked to bronchiolitis obliterans — irreversible obstructive lung diseases — for which lung transplants are often the only way to survive.”
Despite this seriousness, both the Bush Administration Food and Drug Administration and the Consumer Product Safety Commission have declined to act. Corporate profits at any cost including human life reign supreme in the Bush Republican run Federal bureaucracy.
see additional articles:
St Louis Post Dispatch – Popcorn Study showed Chemical was Toxic
IndyStar.com – Microwave Popcorn Maker Takes Initiative
breaking news: Darcy Burner, Democratic candidate for Congress (WA-08) announced today at her Town Hall forum on Iraq that Major General Paul D Eaton, retired, has agreed to head up a panel of experts to help develop an Exit Plan for leaving Iraq. General Eaton was in Iraq in 2003 heading efforts to rebuild Iraq’s military. He is a critic of Bush’s lack of direction and results in ending our war efforts in Iraq.
Thank you Darcy for taking action, and working for solutions. You can help Darcy continue her efforts. Go to http://www.darcyburner.com/ and contribute to counter Bush’s effort to put $10,000 checks in the hands of the Republican Party and Congressman Reichert’s back pockets.
As of about 3:45 P.M. – 2721 people have contributed over $104,788 to Burner. Contributions are still being accepted to help Darcy run a strong campaign. Watch the Town Hall discussion and give today.
Update 5:00 P.M. – 2762 people have contributed $105,945. Help the number grow. Send a loud message to Reichert that Darcy’s coming again!
Update 12:00 P.M. Tues. 3195 people contributed $122,160 - final tally!
It’s payola time for Reichert. Seeing Bush on the public’s dollar traveling to Washington State to raise money for an incumbent Republican Congressman who nearly didn’t return last year – certainly shows Bush’s priorities and pay back for Reichert’s loyalty in supporting Bush’s War.
Bush is busy fundraising while the War rages on in Iraq and people continue to die. Instead of working today for an end to the war, like trying to get Iraq to take responsibility for working out their political differences, or dealing with any of the other pressing problems facing America, he is busy raising money for partisan gain. It shows his priorities are not to deal with the nation’s problems or Iraq. No surprise here.
Instead of meeting with the general public or the press, he is meeting with partisan donors.
Meanwhile Darcy Burner is holding a unique Town Hall meeting streaming live over UStreamTV. Panelists are discussing Iraq and foreign policy issues. It is an innovative approach to help shape the public debate and put Reichert on notice that he is in for a tough re-election campaign again next year.
Gonzales has jumped from Bush’s ship, swimming after Karl Rove. So will Bush appoint anyone better? What’s the drawing power of Bush these days to attract quality people?
The US Senate is the last line of defense against another unqualified candidate. Also the press must do its job by giving its investigative people freedom to scrutinize Bush’s nominee.
The New York Times mentions the names of 3 possible replacements:
“Among those being mentioned as a possible successor were Michael Chertoff, the secretary of homeland security who is a former federal prosecutor, assistant attorney general and federal judge; Christopher Cox, the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission; and Larry D. Thompson, a former deputy attorney general who is now senior vice president and general counsel of PepsiCo Inc. “
Michael Chertoff according to RightWeb
“is secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). A Harvard-trained lawyer who is also a member of the rightist Federalist Society, he served as special council to the Clinton-era Whitewater Commission and as assistant to former Attorney General John Ashcroft (see Chertoff’s DHS biography and “Mike Chertoff’s Dirty Little Secrets,” LA Weekly, January 12, 2005). As head of DHS and council to the Justice Department in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks, Chertoff has been heavily criticized for his role in helping craft the Patriot Act, the Bush administration’s response to Katrina, and the administration’s controversial immigration reform agenda, including the effort to use more law enforcement elements to detain undocumented migrants. Chertoff has also been a vocal proponent of the “war on terror.”
Christopher Cox according to RightWeb was:
“a member of the House of Representatives for 17 years (R-CA), was confirmed as head of the Securities and Exchange Commission on July 29, 2005. During his tenure in Congress, Cox was a vociferous proponent of hardline security policies. He pushed for intervention in the Middle East, supported missile defense programs, and hyped intelligence threats to the United States. “
Larry D. Thompson according to BevNet joined:
“PepsiCo from the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., where he is a Senior Fellow. He is also a member of the board of directors for Delta Airlines. His government career includes serving in the U.S. Department of Justice, where his role as Deputy Attorney General included supervision of overall operations. In 2002, Attorney General John Ashcroft named Mr. Thompson to lead the National Security Coordination Council. Also in 2002, President Bush named Thompson to head the Corporate Fraud Task Force. He led the Justice Department’s ongoing Enron investigation, and was responsible for corporate fraud investigations. ”
We all know just what a banner job Bush and the Justice Department did of going after Enron.
Both Chertoff and Thompson are members of the right wing Federalist Society which has been behind the Bush Administrations program of appointing right wing judicial activists to fill judicial appointments as well as other government appointments.
Chertoff is an unlikely nominee, considering his “role” in the Katrina botched response by the Bush Team.
The Wall Street Journal Law Blog has additional names and comments to the three already mentioned. They are Paul Clement, Jim Comey, Judge Lawrence Silberman, Patrick Fitzgerald, Michael Mukasey, Ted Olsen and Michael Luttig.
Patrick Fitzgerald is an intriguing possibility. He is the US Attorney from Northern Illinois appointed by Bush who became the Special Counsel in the Plame/CIA leak case that resulted in the conviction of I Lewis Libby Jr. Sounds just like what the Department of Justice needs right now- someone willing to pursue justice whatever the outcome.
True Majority is asking people to send letters to their Senators, asking them to do their job and scrutinize carefully whoever it is that Bush ultimately nominates to take over Gonzales’ old job. Most names mentioned so far are not any different from any of the other people Bush has appointed in the past – ones beholden to corporate America and right wing ideology above all else.
Who needs facts? Not George Bush when it comes to global warming. His actions speak louder than words he mouths to lull us into inaction.
In a confidential report to the White House, obtained by the Associated Press and as reported today in the Seattle Times , NOAA and NASA scientists have told President Bush that:
“US scientists will soon lose much of their ability to monitor warming from space …the Defense Department has decided to downsize and launch four satellites … instead of six… will now focus on weather forecasting … Most of the climate instruments needed to collect more precise data for long periods are being eliminated.” …
“Unfortunately, the recent loss of climate sensors … places the overall climate program in serious jeopardy,” NOAA and NASA scientists told the White House in the report.
They said they will face major gaps in data that can be collected only from satellites: about ice caps and sheets, surface levels of seas and lakes, sizes of glaciers, surface radiation, water vapor, snow cover and atmospheric carbon dioxide.
Rick Piltz, director of Climate Science Watch, a watchdog program of the Washington-based Government Accountability Project, called the situation a crisis.
“We’re going to start being blinded in our ability to observe the planet,” said Piltz, whose group provided the AP with the previously undisclosed report. “It’s criminal negligence.”
In an ABC news report on May 29, 2007, entitled “10 Years to Climate Tipping Point” new research emphasized the urgency of having detailed accurate information such as the satellite program would provide:
Even “moderate additional” greenhouse emissions are likely to push Earth past “critical tipping points” with “dangerous consequences for the planet,” according to research conducted by NASA and the Columbia University Earth Institute.
With just 10 more years of “business as usual” emissions from the burning of coal, oil and gas, says the NASA/Columbia paper, “it becomes impractical” to avoid “disastrous effects.”
The study appears in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. Its lead author is James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York.
The forecast effects include “increasingly rapid sea-level rise, increased frequency of droughts and floods, and increased stress on wildlife and plants due to rapidly shifting climate zones,” according to the NASA announcement .
You can read more on the NASA-NOAA report by going to the Climate Science Watch website .
Briefing Notes on NASA-NOAA Joint Document gives a summary of report.
Impacts of NPOESS Nunn-McCurdy Certification on Joint NASA_NOAA Climate Goals is a copy of the full report dated Dec 11, 2006.
Note the date of this report – 6 months ago. There is no response yet from the White House on the Associated Press report but it is obvious that Bush has taken no action to alter the situation. If he had you can be sure the White House would have instantly responded that they had decided to fully fund the existing program to continue our long term gathering and monitoring of the global climate situation.
Bush and Cheney and their oil friendly cabal running things have no intention of seriously addressing global warming and are doing everything they can to sabotage the efforts of scientists to get accurate data and take immediate action. Bush’s program is to stall as much as he can for the next year and a half any efforts to take decisive action.
Warning – look at what Bush does, not what he says he’s “doing”. Only then will we not be blindsided by wimpy press coverage that uncritically reports Bush’s smoke and mirrors plan for global warming which does not seriously address doing much of anything. Right now it’s comparable to his administration’s plan to help Hurricane Katrina’s victims.
His global warming study plan is on track. Don’t be surprised if you see pictures of President Bush looking out the window of Air Force One once or twice to check out the global warming situation over the Atlantic Ocean as he flies to Europe for the G-8 Conference June 6-8, 2007. Do you really expect more? I don’t.
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