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Restore the Wetlands. Reinforce the Levees.

Posts Tagged ‘nobel peace prize’

BP Oil Flood Brought to You by U.S. Supreme Court?

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

[cross-posted at Daily Kos]

Let’s play what-if: Would the BP Oil Flood have happened if the Rehnquist Supreme Court in its Bush v. Gore ruling had not stopped the state of Florida’s vote-counting? We think maybe not. We think it’s not too far a stretch to say that the BP Oil Flood is a direct consequence of the Supreme Court’s 5–4 ruling in Bush v. Gore, about which dissenting associate justice John Paul Stevens lamented:

“Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year’s Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear.”

Even though the Clinton administration was not noted for its environmental activism, we can be sure that if Al Gore had gone from vice president to president—which he nearly did, at least by a half million popular votes—he would have been a tougher regulator of the oil and energy industry than George W. Bush. The Bush administration in effect was the oil and energy industry, with either direct or close ties (including substantial investments) held by the president, vice president, defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, national security adviser and later secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, energy secretary Spencer Abraham, EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman, commerce secretary Donald Evans, and on and on. The Bush method of cabinet selection—a sharpened version of the usual Republican way—was to appoint as secretary a person who came from the industry that would be overseen by the department in question, or disagreed with the department’s reason for being. For example, energy secretary Spencer Abraham, when he was a senator from Michigan, in 1999 had cosponsored a bill (S.896) to abolish the Energy Department and transfer the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to the Defense Department.

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The Nobel Peace Prize 2009

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

nobel-medal_thumbnail_0Warm congratulations to President Barack Obama for being selected to receive the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” It is a proud and happy occasion for the President and for the United States of America. French President Nicolas Sarkozy expressed well the international significance of the prize in his letter of congratulations: “. . . it sets the seal on America’s return to the heart of all the world’s peoples.”

The Nobel Committee’s announcement reads in part:

Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. . . . Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population.

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Years of Decision

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

These are the last few years of decision, but they can be the first years of a bright and hopeful future if we do what we must. . . .We have everything we need to get started, save perhaps political will, but political will is a renewable resource.’

Norway Nobel Peace PrizeOn the very same day that Al Gore was awarded his (shared) Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway (Dec. 10), the also honorable Henry A. Waxman, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, released a report concluding that “the Bush Administration has engaged in a systematic effort to manipulate climate change science and mislead policymakers and the public about the dangers of global warming.”

The stark contrast between Waxman’s report and Gore’s speech shows two very different paths that can be taken: one of an administration’s childlike, even mentally ill refusal to face reality, and another of a courageous grown-up’s acknowledgement of a life-endangering predicament. Because of the threat that rising surface temperatures and melting ice caps pose to low-lying, hurricane-prone areas such as New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, we prefer the adultlike approach. Yes, we’ll go with Mr. Gore’s call to move from business-as-usual in order to live in a more sustainable relationship with the planet that gave birth to our sometimes admirable species. We believe that the name Homo sapiens need not always be as ironic as it’s been feeling lately.

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