Category Archives: Congress


At times, we might forget that there are a good number of very bright, extremely dedicated, and fundamental people working in Congress. Elected officials and staff. Our funding system that seems to drive member after member to be begging, tin in cup, for funds can make the entire process look open to purchase.  The traditional media mania for ever lower quality reporting magnifies this, making foolish shallowness the norm.  Reality is far from this and it is worthwhile at times to take a moment to consider that reality. 

An e-mail came into me today that reminded me of this, a letter with perhaps the best single word I’ve seen to summarize Republican truthiness when it comes to energy issues but a letter with substance.


Thank you  Representative Earl Blumenauer. 

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What to do about gas prices?


Americans United for Change has launched a campaign to Free Our Oil! While an interesting response to the Republican focus on lying to support drilling, I challenged this campaign, stating that this effort supports a quite dangerous framing of the problems and solutions.

If we make this just about gas prices, we are caught into a very dangerous framing. “Lowering” gas prices gets people thinking back to cheaper energy unit costs days. We need people, the nation thinking about enery as a system, as a “cost to own” rather than “cost to buy”. We (the nation) should foster upfront investment (help it) that will lower total “cost to own” by reducing wasteful use of polluting energy. While difficult in a robocall, every single message (I would argue) should avoid getting captured in messaging that fosters thinking that we can go back to days of cheaper gasoline. Over the long term (and likely short term), it isn’t going to happen.

In response, I was asked the following question:

Say, for example, you were on TV today as a representative of the Democratic Party. The interviewer asks, “A, what is the Democratic Party doing in Congress to help lower oil/gas costs for Americans who are hurting?” What’s your answer?

The GOP has an answer – gas tax holiday and drilling offshore. You and I know that these are two options that won’t do anything significant in the short-term, and we they do nothing to change the culture of oil that we live in. However, they are ideas and Americans want to hear ideas, be them good or bad.

What can the Dems do right now to bring down costs, without sacrificing their long-term message of changing the way we think about oil. OR, given our foreign policy and the world as it is today. is $4/5/6/gallon just the new reality and we need to suck it up?

For my off-the-top of the head (basically unedited) response, follow me after the fold.
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Greening the SchoolHouse

Last month, to far (FAR) less attention than it merited, the House of Representatives (facing an Administration veto threat) passed the 21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act with $20 billion for greening public schools across the nation.

Taking aggressive action to green schools is about one of the smartest steps the nation can take, action that should go beyond bipartisanship to true unity of action as it is a win-win-win-win strategy along so many paths:

  • Save money for communities and taxpayers
  • Create employment
  • Foster capacity for ‘greening’ the nation
  • Reduce pollution loads
  • Improve health
  • Improve student performance / achievement
  • And, well, other benefits. In the face of these benefits, “The White House threatened a veto, saying it was wrong for the federal government to launch a costly new school-building program.”
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    Faux News: “Most Republicans crazy like a man stuck in a toilet”

    Truth be told, the title isn’t an exact quote, but it isn’t far off.  

    Yesterday on Fox News, anchor Shep Smith was recounting the story of a man in Pennsylvania who was stuck in a port-a-potty. According to the York Daily Record (PA), the man was “drunk, naked and wedged up to his waist in the hole of the toilet.” Toward the end of the segment, Smith compared people who get stuck in toilets to “people who deny the whole global warming thing.” “They’re just a little crazy, you know?” said Smith. “What do you do?”

    Where do the Republicans come into this? The majority don’t believe that humanity is driving Global Warming.

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    A pause re profitability …

    The Lieberman-Warner Climate inSecurity Act (CISA) can accurately be described as the Coal Subsidy Act. With all the embedded subsidies and support for the coal industry, why is the coal industry fighting the Coal Subsidy Act? In short: not enough.

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    Republicans: Do Nothing … unless it is Drill and Kill …

    Just a short post to highlight something that is going on right now that merits attention. Courtesy of CSPAN Radio, I (and others) have the opportunity to be listening to the ongoing proceedings of the US Senate. Why? Because I wanted to be listening to the debates and discussions on the Senate floor related to the Lieberman-Warner Climate inSecurity Act (CiSA). As with so much of what has been going on in the House of Representatives, the Drill and Kill Republicans, engaged in a coordinated truthiness effort to falsely make it seem too expensive to do anything about Global Warming, are willing to be abusive of the Senate to disrupt legitimate and meaningful discussion of climate change and climate change legislation. What did they do today? Refused to grant unanimous consent to waive the reading of the bill. Thus, the poor clerk is reading the entire bill. A long … long … long bill. I am striving to listen, at least a little, so that she is not simply speaking into a void as it is hard to believe that a single Republican Senator is actually listening and paying attention to the reading of the bill. The refusal to accept waiving of the bill has nothing to do with good governance, has nothing to do with enabling meaningful discussion and debate about issues critical to the nation, but everything to do with disruptive political activities.

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    Truthiness into the inbox …

    It had seemed that ABEC had bit the dust, having been transformed into ACCCE. But, it seems that obituary might have been a bit too soon as my in-box just was filled with truthiness and deception from the astroturfing Americans for Balanced Energy Choices. Let’s take a brief look at this material from America’s coal power purveyors.

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    Waving a white flag … Samuelson and Global Warming

    Robert J. Samuelson simply doesn’t believe in America, in American ingenuity, in Americans ability to rise to challenges and solve problems.

    From an acquaintance,

    This week’s Newsweek magazine carries a column by Robert Samuelson, titled Just-Call It Cap-and-Tax. Samuelson likes to say he’s not an economist. In this column, he certainly showed that to be the case.

    Join me after a fold for a stroll through some of Samuelson’s reckless truthiness.

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    Will-fully Ignorant

    We could easily ask: Washington Post editors, are you idiots? In publishing George F. Will’s Carbon Power Brokers, the Post editorial board is complicit in the dissemination of deceptiveness and falsehoods surrounding policy making on what likely will be the most significant issue of the 21st century. The Post published this deceptive drivel the day before the US Senate begins debating the Lieberman-Warner Climate inSecurity Act. While, clearly, I have quite serious problems with the CiSA and do not support its passage, this debate and discussion should be on the basis of fact and truth, rather then deceit and truthiness.

    As an example of a direct falsehood, Will writes that John McCain supports the bill. Oops, BUZZ, false.  John McCain has mouthed some strong words on Global Warming but has managed to be AWOL on every vote that matters when it comes to clean technology and environmental issues in the past year. His staff has already announced that this won’t be an exception to that rule.  John McCain doesn’t support Lieberman-Warner (his two biggest Senate supporters) and won’t be there to vote on the billMcFlip McFlop McSame McCain‘s deceptive sleight of hand continues: listen to what I say, don’t watch what I do when it comes to the reality of Global Warming. That is, unless you’re in the reality-denial world, then ignore what I say and watch what I do. There seems to be an expression for this. What is it? Oh, yeah, “McCain wants to have his cake and eat it too.”  To share that cake with George W Bush no matter what storms hit America’s shores.

    Join me for a stroll through Will’s willful ignorance …

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    Boxer’s Radio Jab on Global Warming

    Saturday, Senator Barbara Boxer gave the Democratic Radio Address.

    She spoke about the urgent need for our nation to act on global warming before it’s too late.

    This talk has material that merits cheering and other parts that merit groans. Join me after the fold for an examination of why Senator Boxer merits some Cheers and some (strong) Jeers.

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