Weatherdem's Weblog

Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

Random Pieces 7/28/08


George W. Bush continues to set record after record. Five of the worst deficits? They’re Bush’s and his extremist allies in Congress. This year’s deficit will amount to around $482 billion. Bushies are of course trying to spin the number, citing two worse deficits in our history, based on percentage of GDP. There’s a lot of that going around as the economy tanks and businesses post record-setting losses themselves. It’s only the third worst yearly deficit ever! Brought to you by folks who convinced voters they were fiscally responsible. One more reason not to vote for McCain and dozens of other candidates.


One out of five bridges in the US is 50 years old or older, according to American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. Why is 50 years worth mentioning? Engineers design bridges to last 50 years. And the amount of traffic using those bridges far exceeds what was estimated 50+ years ago. Last year, a bridge collapse in Minnesota killed 13 and injured 144 people. And yet the same conservatives who have run up record deficits continue to argue that we shouldn’t invest in our national infrastructure. Indeed, immoral corporations like Halliburton and Exxon are gleefully accepting corporate welfare while our infrastructure edges closer to failure.


So someone went to a church in Tennessee with a shotgun and killed two people while injuring seven others.  Who is this person?  Another psychotic white male.  He was pissed off at “liberals and gays” and frustrated he couldn’t find a job.  He believes that all liberals should be killed.  Where did he get such crazy thoughts?  Unsurprisingly, his reading included Bill O’Reilly, Mike Savage and Sean Hannity.  Their writings and general use of language, along with other extremist right-wingers, have been identified as infused with violence.

I recommend reading Jeffrey Feldman’s “Outright Barbarous” to get a clearer idea of this – he takes a short stroll through right-wing pundit-land and examines their rhetoric.  His conclusion: that the level of violence in their rhetoric prevents any real discussion of the issues we all face today.  I’m actually surprised even more outbursts like this haven’t been seen.

I’m curious if Jim David Adkisson will be charged as a terrorist.  Based on the fact that he’s not brown and doesn’t have a Muslim-sounding name, I doubt it.

More transportation-related news: Americans drove 9.6 billion fewer miles in May of 2008 than they did in May of 2007. That’s after a similar drop reported in April. It seems that oil corporations and governments have found out Americans’ breaking point: ~$4.00 per gallon. It continued the longest ever decline in traveled miles. Folks are still getting around: mass transit ridership is breaking records in cities across the nation.

As gas prices slowly slide back down beneath $4.00 per gallon, I hope driving habits don’t revert back to where they were. I hope Americans like saving money enough that they want to keep doing it. I hope the financial squeeze too many of us are facing is eased to a more reasonable level.

This measurable drop in gas demand has helped reduce the price for a barrel of oil and thus gas prices. That seems more causal to me now than two other options, one of which I heard a conservative pushing on the radio this morning. Those options are more correlative than causal. First, the oil and gas speculation rein in legislation proposed by Democrats in Congress. Second, the Presidential ban on offshore drilling being lifted. Why is that correlative and not causal? One, the congressional ban on offshore drilling still exists and isn’t likely to be lifted this session. Two, energy corporations already own millions of acres of land they can already drill on, but they refuse to. And Republicans like McCain are busy blaming Obama and other Democrats for high prices. So far, those smear tactics seem to be working.


Well, lookie here: John McCain flip-flopped on his support to ban offshore drilling – he was for it before he was against it. After his flip-flop (only one month ago), he’s already received millions in campaign donations from oil and gas corporate executives. But I’m sure McCain wants to drill off the coasts out of the goodness of his heart. You just know he’s feeling the same pain at the pump as you and I. No, he’s just your typical hypocritical corporatist-conservative.

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3 thoughts on “Random Pieces 7/28/08

  1. pacified has a post up at SquareState about the Tennessee right-wing extremist with links to other bloggers who have observed the unsettling level of violence arise among conservatives. I’m not the only one who forsees more of these events.

  2. Jeffrey Feldman has a post today that explores the progressive blogosphere’s response to the shootings. It’s an interesting read. He argues that progressive blogs haven’t taken an emphatic stand against violent rhetoric yet.

  3. Here is a nifty graph that might help explain why McCain was against off-shore drilling before he was for it. $1 million in contributions changed his mind, not any kind of principle.

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