As gallons of oil continue to gush into the Gulf of Mexico, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) invoked God on the House floor Friday in an impassioned 90-second plea to end our dependence on fossil fuels and preserve “mother earth” with a clean energy economy.”The creator gave us a paradise,” began Kucinich, “and we, appropriating the power of nature’s God, are turning our planet into a smoking, glowing, oily mess.” Our “reliance on oil, coal and nuclear,” he continued, is “plundering mother earth of her treasures” and “threatens our health, our security, our economy, our nation and the world.”
Pointing to the “destruction of our natural environment” by way of the enormous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, he added: “Must we wait until all coastal areas are ruined – all fish, all birds, all animals are injured and killed – before we realize that drilling presents a threat to the fragile ecology of life?”
It was the kind of fiery speech, constructed with hyperbole to maximize impact, suitable for a whole-hearted embrace by environmentalists, who were likely to blush with pride over Kucinich’s equally fervent admonishment of the fossil fuel industry’s attempt to ward off a societal shift to clean energy.
“It is not as though there are no alternatives,” Kucinich said. “Markets and industries have conspired for years to shelve the massive introduction of wind and solar technologies.”
Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman unveiled an energy reform bill last Wednesday, which employs a cap and trade program to cut carbon emissions and boost sustainable sources of energy, while limiting the expansion of offshore oil exploration.
Analysts have forecast grim prospects for its passage this year, and climate expert Joseph Romm of the blog ClimateProgress.org predicted to Raw Story that it won’t happen without an “all-out push” from the White House, and would be a dead issue in the next Congress.
Far from galvanizing support for an energy overhaul, the Deepwater Horizon spill has dampened its chances in the Senate, as some progressives have withdrawn their support for expanded oil drilling while conservatives haven’t conceded an inch.
“Written in the oily sands of the Gulf,” Kucinich concluded, “our world exists through fragile interconnected systems of life. Our survival depends upon reconciliation with – not exploitation of – the natural world.”
This video is from the House floor, uploaded to YouTube by Kucinich’s office.
Democratic strategist James Carville and MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews, two reliable supporters of President Barack Obama, have issued withering critiques of the administration’s handling of the Gulf oil spill.
Carville, the famously outspoken Louisianian who was a chief political aide to Bill and Hillary Clinton, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Thursday that the administration’s response to the spill has been “lackadaisical” and that Obama was “naive” to trust BP to manage the massive clean-up effort.
“I think they actually believe that BP has some kind of a good motivation here,” he said. “They’re naive! BP is trying to save money, save everything they can… They won’t tell us anything, and oddly enough, the government seems to be going along with it! Somebody has got to, like shake them and say, ‘These people don’t wish you well! They’re going to take you down!'”
Carville also accused the White House of going along with what he called the “let BP handle it” strategy.
“I’m as good a Democrat as most people, and I think this administration has done some good things. They are risking everything by this ‘go along with BP’ strategy they have that seems like, lackadaisical on this, and Doug is right, they seem like they’re inconvenienced by this, this is some giant thing getting in their way and somehow or another, if you let BP handle it, it’ll all go away. It’s not going away. It’s growing out there. It is a disaster of the first magnitude, and they’ve got to go to Plan B.”
It’s not looking good for eye doctor turned Senate candidate from Kentucky, Rand Paul. Today he said that the president is un-American because of Obama’s pressure on British Petroleum. Rand Paul believes, as most Libertarians believe, that government should stay out of private enterprises with their regulations, generally his thing is: get rid of regulation.
How can Paul and other Libertarians be so myopic to what’s going on in the energy industries, given the BP oil spill in the gulf, close to a month ago.
After getting himself into trouble on Rachel Maddow’s show on MSNBC, and everywhere else, Rand Paul has decided to cancel an interview on Sunday’s “Meet the Press” rather than risk further damage. It’s pretty amazing that a guy who embraced the role of national face of the Tea Party movement with such enthusiasm is crashing and burning so spectacularly. Two points to raise from my reporting trip to Kentucky earlier this week that I think are pertinent.
The first is that the Rand Paul who emerged post-election–questioning the Civil Rights Act, exonerating BP for the oil spill, and generally setting off grenades in the national media–is nothing like the Rand Paul who campaigned and won the Kentucky GOP primary. What Paul spoke about on the stump was mostly the size of the deficit, his desire for a balanced budget and term limits, and his belief that a lot of what Congress does has no basis in the Constitution. Paul’s favorite example was health care, not civil rights. But the interesting thing to me, as I wrote on Monday, is that he took care to emphasize those parts of the Tea Party agenda that appeal (he claimed) to independents and moderates. There was no talk of race, civil rights, secession, birtherism and general Fox News lunacy. “The Tea Party is not about extremism,” Paul said again and again. The impression in the broader media, including the liberal blogosphere, that Paul is an angry, unlikeable nut was not borne out by my experience on the campaign trail.
The second point, which gets directly to why Rand Paul is suddenly flailing, is that the local Kentucky media–in particular the newspapers, and especially the flagship Louisville Courier-Journal–has been decimated by job cuts, as has happened across the country. This came up several times in discussions with Kentucky politicos and local journalists. The reason it matters is that because there is no longer a healthy, aggressive press corps–and no David Yepson-type dean of political journalists–candidates don’t run the same kind of gauntlet they once did. They’re not challenged by journalists. And since voters aren’t as well informed as they once were (many are “informed” in the sense of having strongly held views about all manner of things–they’re just not “well informed”), they can’t challenge the candidates either.
Thus, when Rand Paul appeared on “Maddow” and the other shows, I expect he was prepared to offer the same sermon I heard on the trail. Problem is, he was encountering an aggressive, experienced press corps that appropriately had its own agenda and was eager to challenge Paul to elaborate on his views.
I must admit that, when I first heard the “diminished local press corps” theory of why Paul was skating by, I was not entirely convinced. I’m a lot more persuaded now, and as much as I’d have liked to see him Sunday on “Meet the Press,” I think he probably made a wise move in backing out.
Chis Matthews is used to conversing at cable speed. So when the “Hardball” host took his high-velocity analysis to “The Tonight Show” Thursday, it proved too much for a fellow guest to follow.
He made it halfway through a diatribe linking Dick Cheney to the BP oil spill before comedian Chelsea Handler cut him short.
“Could you talk faster please?” the “Chelsea Lately” star joked next to him.
Matthews managed to get out “The oil industry is comple –” before he paused, swallowed and turned to her.
“You know, my dear,” he said. “You’re beautiful, but if you concentrate you can keep up.”
Handler’s mouth dropped, the audience exploded and Jay Leno started cheering.
“Thank you,” Leno yelled, leaning over to give Matthews a high-five. “I should have done that five years ago.”
According to a press release, self-described “Tea Party Founder” Dale Robertson has joined the Washington Times’ “Tea Party Report” blog. Robertson, you may recall, was thrust back into the limelight in March, when he was quoted by the paper as never having seen any racial slurs at Tea Parties, despite having been photographed holding a sign that featured the N-word. He told us the photo was a fake, which our expert then disputed, before a sea of journalists came forward to point out that Robertson had already admitted to holding the sign.Robertson’s critics within the Tea Party paint him as a pure opportunist who did nothing more than try to squat on Tea Party domain names to turn a quick buck. He did try, unsuccessfully, to sell his website (Teaparty.org), but he says it was to defend against attacks on him by the Republican establishment.
If Robertson is an opportunist, he’s not a very good one. He seems to be joining the Tea Party Report just as interest in the actual movement is cooling. They exist now more as a voting bloc than a news story with moving parts.
Furthermore, the press release is from Robertson’s PR flack, not the Washington Times’. It’s not even clear that this is a paid gig, rather than another attempt by Robertson to market himself as a Tea Party Leader. The Tea Party Report “is written and edited by William J. Kelly and Laura Grock. Kelly also pens Bill Kelly’s Truth Squad for the Washington Times. We welcome all Tea Party leaders and enthusiasts to send us their news, opinions, and stories.”
At any rate, the Washington Times has never shown any qualms about Robertson, repeatedly quoting him in news stories as a Tea Party leader.
I reached out to the Tea Party Report for comment, and am awaiting a reply.
In pulling together links for this story, I was reminded that Dale Robertson, intentionally or not, wrote one of the funniest things I’ve ever read in the “About” section of his website, and I just had to re-immortalize it here. In describing the adversity he faced at his first protest, he said this: (emphasis mine)
I had brought my picnic table and chairs knowing this would not be easy, parking would be difficult, staying alive even harder.
Let’s see if Scarborough gets a “time out” on MSNBC the way other news anchors have.
Appearing on MSNBC nearly one year ago, Kentucky GOP candidate Rand Paul said, “I am happy tonight to announce on The Rachel Maddow Show that I’m forming an exploratory committee to run for the U.S. Senate.” So it was natural that, one day after emerging victorious in his GOP primary, Paul returned to the show. And Maddow — as any responsible journalist would have — pressed Paul on the hot topic of the day: whether he supported the 1964 Civil Rights Act. After offering a weak defense of his views that he later had to completely step away from, Paul said it was “a poor political decision” to appear on the show and called Maddow part of the “loony left.” This morning, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough seemed to take Paul’s side and threw his own network under the bus:
JOE SCARBOROUGH: I will not mention any names, but I’ll just say one of the top conservative leaders in Washington, DC, not elected, but a real opinion-shaper, had two questions. First of all, how could he have been so stupid to have walked into this type of controversy? And secondly, this is part of a news story so I’m going to say it, what the hell was he doing on MSNBC? This isn’t an anti-MSNBC situation but you don’t find a whole lot of very liberal Democrats going on Fox News election night or the night after to do their victory lap. They’re wondering whether he’s ready for prime time.
Maddow provided Paul a fair forum, giving him approximately 15 minutes to explain his views. The “poor political decision” that Paul made was not in appearing on her show, but rather in opposing portions of the Civil Rights Act. Rather than applauding his network’s journalistic feat, Scarborough is bashing it because his preferred candidate didn’t fare well.
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Recently, healthcare and oil industry lobbyist Newt Gingrich published a book, To Save America, which argues repeatedly that the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress are a “secular-socialist machine” that “represents as great a threat to America as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union.” But in 2005, during an appearance on Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes, host Sean Hannity asked Gingrich what he thought about MoveOn.org and Democrats supposedly “comparing George Bush to Adolf Hitler.” Gingrich replied, “maybe they’re becoming the unhinged party.” Today during a press conference in the Capitol Hill visitor center, ThinkProgress asked if Gingrich’s standard for being “unhinged” applied to his own frequent comparisons of Obama to Nazi Germany:
TP: In your new book, you argue that Obama and liberals quote “represent as great of a threat to America as Nazi Germany”–
GINGRICH: Not here, but I’m happy to talk about that–
TP: Just really quickly though, but during the Bush years, you said people who make Bush-Nazi comparisons were quote “unhinged.” By your own definition, are you unhinged?
GINGRICH: No. Nice try
While Gingrich sees nothing absurd or hypocritical about his comparison between the Obama administration and Nazi Germany, he is facing increasing criticism for his assertion. This morning, conservative MSNBC host Joe Scarborough ripped Gingrich’s Nazi-Obama comparison as “sick” and “pure wingnuttery.” Yesterday, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) called on the GOP to condemn Gingrich’s new book for his “dangerous anaology” between Obama and Nazi Germany. “Gingrich’s linkage not only diminishes the horror of the Holocaust, it also licenses the use of extremist language in contemporary America,” remarked David Harris, executive director of the AJC.