Saturday, November 17, 2007
Big Business as Warm Fuzzy Environmentalists?
Recently I was browsing the children's section at our local corporate megabookstore, and picked up a book that had an disturbingly intriguing title: "The Sky is Not Falling: Why it's OK to Chill About Global Warming."

The book appeared to be an apologia for pollution and greenhouse gases--telling kids it's better to drive than to ride a bike, and that those who say we need to be concerned about the environment or about global warming are just trying to scare you. It suggests that kids should become "enviropreneurs" and learn to rip off the environment for their economic gain.

When I looked up the book, I found it's published by a company that calls itself a "leading" conservative publishing company. Reading their titles for children is either amusing ("Help Mom, There are Liberals Under my Bed!") or darkly hypocritical--the blub for "The Sky's Not Falling" asks "tired of your kids being dictated to by has-been politicians and pop singers?" and suggests that the book is a balanced corrective to the fear-mongering of "An Inconvenient Truth" while it clearly pushes a pro-big business agenda, paid for by Exxon et al.

The author, Holly Fretwell, is presented as a scientist who is a "research associate" for an organization called "PERC" -- the "Property and Environmental Research Center" as well as an "adjunct professor" of economics in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics at Montana State University. A look at her cv suggests perhaps her research is funded by timber companies.

In any case, PERC is dedicated to the idea that private property ownership is the key to environmental stewardship (THERE's a thought--why haven't we tried that one yet?). They formerly called themselves The Political Economy Research Center. While their promos try to make them appear as if they are concerned about the environment, they cozy up to the petroleum industry, which gives them huge infusions of cash.

I'm afraid that Hillary was right--there IS a vast right-wing conspiracy. And their mind-fucking materials are available in a children's book department at a corporate bookstore near you.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Sizing up the Candidates
I'm still agnostic as far as the candidates go, but I will admit I'm leaning Hillary. Actually, I hope for a Clinton/Obama ticket. This could be the dream ticket for Democrats--we'd get 16 years out of it!

I think Hillary at the top of the ticket would be unbeatable, with Obama to round up the rest of the vote. And, what I said earlier about working class women becoming ascendent in this election is important to keep in mind, as it becomes more manifest: the WashPost reports that black women are favoring Hillary over Obama.

I like Obama a lot. I just think he needs more seasoning and to develop more political heft. Being veep would accomplish both.

Edwards appeals to the policy wonk in me. But I don't think the voters are warming up to him. I like that he's talking tough, but threatening some kind of presidential fiat is tantamount to saying he's going to do just what Bush has done and ignore the legislative process. He also has received two "pinocchios" from the WashPost Fact Checker for inaccurately characterizing Hillary's position on troop drawdown in Iraq.

Of course, getting two pinocchios pales next to Giuliani's four pinocchios for inaccurate statements about outcomes of prostate cancer treatment in the US vs the UK.

Saturday, November 10, 2007
Virginia Turning Purple?
Yay, we have a Democratic Senate! Of course, even though we gained a few seats in the House of Delegates, the clash between the wacky right-wing House and the more measured and moderate Senate will lead to some gridlock. But oh, that's so much better than the rightwing wackos getting their legislation through without a hitch, while more sensible legislation dies in committee.

Too bad for Connie Brennan's loss. It was an impossible race to begin with--a district gerrymandered to favor an incumbent, a huge district with large rural areas, making it hard to campaign in. Abbitt has his safe legacy seat till he's dead or till after redistricting. However, Connie made an excellent showing. The last time someone ran against Abbitt (Alan Hale in 2003), he won only 32.82% of the vote, while Connie was able to win 39.66%. And, she won Nelson (her home county) while Hale, also from Nelson, did not. (frivolous fact: Alan is Connie's ex-husband).

I hope she will run again--she's a great candidate, ran an excellent campaign, and would be a wonderful legislator. Hang in there, Connie!


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