Three years after he led the charge to require consumers to ditch their comfortable old incandescent lights in favor of those twisty CFL bulbs, Rep. Fred Upton now wants to be the man to help undo that law as the next chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
That about-face is not unique among lawmakers looking to atone for stances they’ve taken over the past decade as they seek to gain top posts in a decidedly more conservative Republican Congress, but his reversal underscores how intent the GOP is on proving it has broken with past practices.
“We have heard the grass roots loud and clear, and will have a hearing early next Congress,” said Mr. Upton, a Michigan Republican who is facing several others in his party in a bid to earn the gavel of the powerful committee. “The last thing we wanted to do was infringe upon personal liberties — and this has been a good lesson that Congress does not always know best.”
Indeed, the compact fluorescent lamp, or CFL, has become a symbol of government overreach for many consumers, who wonder what was wrong with the incandescent bulbs that have lighted their kitchens, family rooms and bedrooms for more than a century.
Tuesday, December 7th, 2010
Obama was equally frustrated with his own liberal base, which has clamored for him to fight Republicans rather than negotiate or compromise. But, casting himself numerous times as the protector of the American people, Obama said he had no choice.
“It’s tempting not to negotiate with hostage takers, unless the hostage gets harmed,” Obama said. “In this case, the hostage was the American people, and I was not willing to see them get harmed.”
Obama said he wanted to “get the American people in a safe place” by ensuring that no one’s taxes went up on January 1, and had to agree to extend the current tax rates even for high income earners to do so.
The “safe place” was the tax rates put in place by Bush, which were so roundly criticized by Democrats for eight long, whiny years
Answer: that the media likes scary stories, even if they’re wrong and dated.
The annual Climate Catastrophe Party is marching along in Cancun, Mexico, making for a lovely all-expenses-paid vacation.
At this latest doom fest, some 20,000 delegates from around the world are doing their best to keep the scary story of man-made global warming/climate change alive. I’ve been around long enough to remember a time when global warming was a non-issue — in fact, it was the very real threat of another ice age making headlines in the 1970s. With that in mind, I did an investigation into the comings and goings of predicted environmental cataclysm in modern history. What I found is that this has all happened before — the reporting of climate catastrophe has been going on for over 120 years.
What’s fascinating about the reporting is that it has encompassed the full range of temperature: searing heat and bitter cold, both reported as real and potentially deadly.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says the world is warming at an unprecedented rate. The irrefutable results of this global temperature heat wave will be starvation, drowning of coastal cities, mass extinctions, war, and the death of billions. These warnings come to us from many reliable sources, including all forms of news media. We have been alerted to this climate catastrophe for two decades now.
But when one looks back at the history of climate reporting, you find a remarkably consistent and recurring theme. The global temperature has cycled from cold to warm to cold to warm again over the last 120 years. The media cycles of impending climatic doom mirror the climate cycles themselves, but with a roughly ten- to fifteen-year lag. It seems whenever the world warms, the volume of global warming stories increases to match the trend. Conversely, when the climate cools the major media outlets pull on their long johns and warn us of the next ice age. However, it takes many years for the media to catch up to what the climate is actually doing.
On February 24, 1895, the New York Times reported: “Geologists think the world may be frozen up again.” The story wondered “whether recent and long continued observations do not point to the advent of a second glacial period.”
In 1912, shortly after the sinking of the Titanic by an iceberg, the New York Times reported on a professor from a Cornell University: “Professor Schmidt warns us of an encroaching ice age.” On the very same day, the Los Angles Times reported: “Fifth ice age is on the way. … Human race will have to fight for its existence against the cold.”
Was what they were reporting true? The temperature records from the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia say yes. The Earth was cooling from about 1875 to 1910, about 35 years of downward temperature. During this time there would have been more ice in the Arctic, and glaciers would have advanced. The stories were based upon what scientists of the day were observing. From there, the media drew their own conclusions as to what this meant for the future climate and its effects on humanity. Many times, they chose disaster.
The oceans contain more than one thousand times more heat than the atmosphere, and the vast majority of that heat is in tropical waters. When the oceans warm, so does the atmosphere. When they cool, global temperature follows. The Pacific Ocean covers a third of the Earth’s surface and exhibits a dominant impact on the global temperature. Around 1920, the tropical Pacific Ocean began to warm. The impacts of such a warming are not always readily apparent — it takes years for glaciers and sea ice to react to the gradual ocean warming.
The huge social inertia generated by the ice age scare prior to 1910 continued to drive media fear stories of coming cold into the 1920s. On July 3, 1923, the Christian Science Monitor reported: “Captain MacMillan left Wiscasset, Maine, announcing that one of the purposes of his cruise was to determine whether there was the beginning of another ice age as the advance of glaciers in the last 70 years would seem to indicate.” On September 18, 1924, the New York Times declared the threat was real, saying: “MacMillan reports signs of new ice age.” Earlier that year, on April 6, the LA Times reported that Swedish scientist Rutger Sernander claimed there were “scientific grounds for believing” that “when all winds will bring snow, the Sun cannot prevail against the clouds and three winters will come in one, with no summer between.”
Keep reading — it’s a good one.
Time magazine’s Mark Halperin says Obama has to try all the expected things: “show people what he stands for, fight for what he believes, compromise with Republicans when it’s sensible, reshape his circle of advisers and focus on job growth and deficit reduction.” But Halperin says succeeding in those efforts will be tough because “they run counter to Obama’s instincts, the political realities of American politics for the last generation, or both.”
What Obama really needs, Halperin says, is a stroke of good luck. “Busy as he’s been, he has not yet experienced a single major moment that has benefited him politically,” Halperin writes. Events like the Gulf oil spill have been harmful, rather than helpful. So what would brighten Obama’s political prospects? Here’s Halperin:
No one wants the country to suffer another catastrophe. But when a struggling Bill Clinton was faced with the Oklahoma City bombing and a floundering George W. Bush was confronted by 9/11, they found their voices and a route to political revival.
Of course, the Oklahoma City attack killed 168 people, and September 11 nearly 3,000. So Halperin quickly adds: “Perhaps Obama’s crucible can be positive — the capture of Osama bin Laden, the fall of the Iranian regime, a dramatic technological innovation that revitalizes American manufacturing — something to reintroduce him to the American people and show the strengths he demonstrated as a presidential candidate.”
Maybe a bin Laden capture or Iranian revolution would help, although it seems highly unlikely that a dramatic technological innovation would revitalize American manufacturing in time for Obama to be re-elected in 2012. But the fact is, presidents have often shown their true mettle in the face of tragic circumstances. And Obama’s partisans appear to be coming very close to hoping for a tragedy to revive the president’s political fortunes.
Bush was “floundering” eight months into his presidency? Please.
As for Clinton, he cynically exploited Oklahoma City, inferring that Rush Limbaugh had stirred up the “angry white men” to violence. Clinton can be charming, but he’s a nasty snake.
Obama doesn’t seem to have the cojones to handle a crisis. He bungled the Gulf Oil spill and made it worse. God help us if something serious comes up with The One still in charge.