Tag Archives: US Congress

Wake Up & Smell the Inferno

(Cross-posted at Ditch Crazy Dana) 

Have you seen the weather report lately? I guess I shouldn't be surprised when I see this in the OC Register, but I am. Wow, it gets hot down here… But rarely THIS HOT!

People everywhere were beginning to seek relief Monday from a heat wave that will intensify over the next three days, with temperatures forecast to hit 105 degrees in some inland areas.

The worst heat will come Wednesday – the Fourth of July – says the National Weather Service. But by mid-afternoon Monday, the temperature had hit 99 in Mission Viejo and 96 in Placentia. In Palm Springs, it was 114.

The heat wave will be so oppressive the weather service has issued an “excessive heat” advisory for Wednesday and Thursday, meaning that temperatures will be high enough to cause heatstroke and dehydration.

Whoa! That's hot! But wait, why are we having more of these extreme heatwaves? We've had plenty of hot weather in Southern California before, but rarely this much reoccurring throughout the year. Wait, could this have something to do with it? Follow me after the flip for more…

OK, OK, so we've heard all the rhetoric about climate change (aka global warming) causing more severe weather. We've heard all the warnings about future killer hurricanes, massive flooding, lethal heatwaves, and just all around more erratic weather. But wait, what if all of this severe weather isn't waiting for the future? What if we're experiencing the consequences of ignoring climate change now?

Remember seeing this in The Washington Post last August? Well, you should. Oh yes, and would you like some ice water to drink while reading this?

Heat waves like those that have scorched Europe and the United States in recent weeks are becoming more frequent because of global warming, say scientists who have studied decades of weather records and computer models of past, present and future climate.

While it is impossible to attribute any one weather event to climate change, several recent studies suggest that human-generated emissions of heat-trapping gases have produced both higher overall temperatures and greater weather variability, which raise the odds of longer, more intense heat waves. […]

And researchers at the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., reported this week that nighttime summer temperatures across the country have been unusually high for the past eight years, a record streak.

“It's just incredible, when you look at this thing,” said Richard Heim, a research meteorologist at the center. He added that only the Dust Bowl period of the mid-1930s rivaled recent summers for sustained heat levels.

And my goodness, we're feeling the effects of this here in California! Look at all the wildfires burning around us. Check out the record-breaking heat in the Inland Empire. Even parts of the Bay Area may hit triple digits this week. We've had plenty of heat before in California, but never like this before.

OK, so it's extra hot this week. So what? It's perfect beach weather! Well, that or shopping in a nice, big air-conditioned mall. Well, that may be true. However, heat like this can also be deadly. Remember all the people who died in last year's heatwave?

Just take a look at some of the nasty health effects of this extreme heat. Bodies get stressed from the extra pressure on the circulatory system. And for people with circulatory problems, this extra pressure can be lethal. Heart-related illnesses escalate, leaving anyone with heart conditions extra vulnerable. And of course, anyone can be susceptible to suffering heat stroke. And if not caught in time, heat stroke can leave one dead.

So why again are we suffering from this extreme heat? The OC Register actually had a good article a couple of weeks ago that gave a good answer. Basically, it's the climate crisis finally crashing down upon us.

While experts debate the exact health effects of climate change, many scientists agree that a growth in heat waves is among the most inevitable. In many areas of the United States, Earth's rising temperature will increase the intensity, number and duration of heat waves in the summer and bring more winter precipitation as rain, said Paul Epstein, associate director for the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School in Boston. […]

Between 1970 and 2004, greenhouse gas emissions believed to contribute to rising temperatures increased 70 percent, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Scientists have been examining the effects of climate change since the early 1990s, Epstein said. “Finally we're seeing strong signs of it and some of them are way ahead of schedule.”

So what can we do now? Aren't we doing plenty already to stop the climate crisis? What about that “Global Warming Solutions Act” that was signed into law last year? Well, the Governator has already been working on ways to weaken the implementation of that and other laws to please his corporate sugar daddies. Meanwhile in Washington, Congress is just now beginning to take some real action on finding solutions to the climate crisis. But of course, anything that Congress passes would have to get through George W. Bush, who still doesn't seem interested in finding any real solutions.

So what can we do? What can we do right now? Well, we can join Environment California in sending personal messages to our Representatives' iPods, urging them to take action on federal legislation to take on climate change. Send an email to Governor Arnold, and let him know that you don't appreciate him weakening the implementation of the climate change law that he had claimed as “his achievement” last year. Oh yes, and if you're healthy and able-bodied, do your best to only use the energy that you need. By all of us being more efficient with our energy usage, we're reducing our carbon footprint AND allowing people who really need that air conditioning to use it.

So go ahead, go to the beach! Just think about riding the bus there, or carpooling with friends. Jump in the pool! Just remember to keep the AC to a minimum when you're not in the house. And please, have a great Fourth of July holiday! Just remember that there are plenty of things we can do to prevent future Fourth of July holidays from becoming blazing infernos that none of us could ever enjoy. : )

Will Congress Stop the Speeding to Trestles?

({This is Part 9 of my special report on the proposed extension of the 241 Toll Road to San Onofre State Beach (aka Trestles). If you’d like, you can find the other stories in the “Speeding Our Way to Trestles” series here. As the debate heats up over Trestles and the 241, I’d like to go in depth and examine all the issues involved… And I’d love for you to come along for the ride as we explore what can be done to relieve traffic in South Orange County AND Save Trestles Beach. Enjoy! : ) } – promoted by atdleft)

Oh, my! Will Washington now enter the fracas that is the proposed Foothill-South 241 Extension to Trestles? Look at what I just saw in today’s OC Register:

A proposed toll road through parkland that has become Orange County’s most explosive environmental controversy could be jeopardized – and perhaps even killed – if a small amendment added to a defense authorization bill is approved today.

The Foothill South toll road, which would bisect San Onofre State Beach park and cut through highly sensitive natural habitat, has pitted environmental activists against residents who say the road is vital to prevent south county gridlock as populations rise.

Rep. Susan Davis, D-San Diego, who is sponsoring the amendment, believes she has the votes to repeal a 1999 law that authorized the military to grant the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency the right to build a road on 340 acres of parkland.

Authorization from the Navy is necessary before the toll road, which must clear a variety of other regulatory hurdles, can be built.

So can this mean the end of Foothill-South? Follow me after the flip for more…

The House Armed Services Committee will likely be voting on the Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Authorization bill, and Rep. Susan Davis is hoping that her amendment is included in that bill.

“She’s heard from constituents in the district who enjoy the parks and the beaches and have a lot of concerns about the process,” said Aaron Hunter, Davis’ press secretary.

In essence, the amendments would revoke congressional authorization for the military to convey building rights to the toll road agency. It would also erase previous legislation intended to insulate the toll road from state and federal laws that could prevent its construction.

Activists who were aware of Davis’ effort Tuesday said they did not believe her amendment would kill the toll road project but would simply create a “level playing field,” forcing the agency to obey the same laws as other road builders.

“This abuse must stop,” said James Birkelund, a staff attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council in Santa Monica. “The agency should comply with federal and state laws.”

Davis’ staff said her action wouldn’t prohibit construction of the road. It would “just have to follow the same rules and regulations that all other state projects do,” Hunter said.

But apparently, TCA is not happy with this. They are convinced that Davis is conspiring to kill the toll road. And they are livid!

“It takes away from the Navy the ability to grant us an easement,” said Rob Thornton, an attorney who often represents the tollway agency. “I think it would kill the road in this location. The state obtained the lease with the understanding that the Navy reserved the ability to approve the construction of roads.” […]

“What she’s trying to do is kill the road,” said Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Corona. “The millions and millions of dollars that have been spent on environmental studies to advance this would be for naught.”

Well, why did all that money have to be spent in the first place? All Calvert had to do was have one of his staffers read the Coastal Act. It would have been much cheaper, and they could have determined immediately that the proposed path of Foothill-South violates California state law.

And again, isn’t it obvious that the proposed path of this toll road would drive us to complete environmental catastrophe? It would alter the sediment flow of San Mateo Creek, thereby destroying the world-famous waves of Trestles. It would destroy the habitat of at least seven endangered species, including the California gnatcatcher, the Southern California Steelhead Trout, and the Arroyo toad. Their humble abode would be gone if TCA were to have its way. And oh yes, wouldn’t this violate a certain federal Endangered Species Act?

All Susan Davis wants to do is ensure that TCA is following the letter of the law when it comes to this Foothill-South 241 Extension. Why would they feel so threatened by this? Oh yeah, that’s why.

Please Enjoy Some Camp With Your Orange Juice

As you all know by now, I love Orange Juice. Claudio can alway be counted upon for piercing insight into the pure insanity of the anti-immigrant wingnuts. Art is always great at pointing out the sheer insanity his old comrades in the Orange County Republican Party. Ryan Gene may have issues with unions, but I still appreciate what he has to say…

But what the heck is going on with Ron and Anna Winship? They are supposed to be the “Newport Beach Republicans” on the blog, but I am wondering if they are really representing more than just your typical Newport Beach Republicans… Especially when they say stuff like this:

The inquiry goes something like this: “Are you a witch?”, NO! “Ok, is any member of your family a witch?” NO!, “OK, so you are saying that you have never known any witch in your entire life?” NO!…. I am saying I am not a witch and no member of my family is a witch! “Hmmm, then you are saying basically that you have never known a witch, never met a witch, never dated a witch, never attended a coven meeting, never watched a television program with witches and in fact are a non-denominational church going person of good repute…who denies any connections to the ‘Wicked Witches of the West’ or any affiliate organizations?” What do you mean by Affiliate Organizations Senator?

At first, I thought this was ridiculous… But now, I must admit that this is some of the most brilliant and hilarious CAMP that I have ever seen. OK, I know this sounds crazy, but I’ll explain it to you after the flip…

Well, first off, we should define what camp exactly is. From Wikipedia:

Camp (colloquially “cheesy”) is an aesthetic in which something has appeal because of its bad taste or ironic value.

So what could possibly have more appeal because of its bad taste than this?

*When people want to know…
they should as of course…
but as we saw in the Monica
Lewinsky episode…just
knowing what “what” is…
can be a problem without
a shot spot on a dress.

Why did Clinton bomb the
Serbs? The true answer
was that Yugoslavia made
the best and cheapest washers and dryers in all
of the world. Sort of
the Mexico of Europe. It
had nothing to do with
ethnic anything. The Serbs
are the intelligent, caring
people in the world. More
like Americans than most
Americans are….who did
you want us to come clean
on again…Saddam who and
what many groupg of Arab
terrorists again? The
Serbs never bombed any
US Target ever…so should
Hillary now answer for the
bombing of Serbia?
“Sophmoric”, “Naive” or “Moronic”? – you pick!

Now they were asked why Bush Administration officials shouldn’t be subpoenaed to tell the truth about all the disaster that they have heaped upon this nation
Yet instead of receiving a coherent response from the Winships, they get this crazy rambling about Yugoslavia, cheap washers and dryers, and Serbs possibly being “more like Americans than Americans are”. At first, I wondered more ridiculous this could get…
Then it dawned on me: This may be the most amazing piece of camp since The Eurythmics did their classic AND classy music videos in the 1980s:

This makes so little sense, yet it makes such high art.

Ok…there are reasons to have subpoenas….valid, true
and honest reasons. But to what end and what purpose?
Public Inquiry should always be demanded by the Citizens
…no matter what community. What we disdain….is the
political forays into the realm of watching Fox News…
with its yelling and screaming or MSNBC with its Hardball
yelling and screaming or CNN with its cynical low key…
whisper campaigns “psst..is the president is a jerk…
ya think?” “He seems in big trouble now….!”

All in all when bureaucrats steal money, misappropriate
funds for others, use their power for personal gain,
molest children, perform a capital or felonious crime
….then….and only then we probably need the subpoena
….but till that day?

Wait a minute… Didn’t the Republicans do ALL OF THIS during their unchecked years of hegemonic power from 2001 to 2006? I mean, after all, isn’t this why Congressional Democrats are asking for subpoenas in the first place?

But whatever, I guess facts shouldn’t get in the way of such perfectly absurd yet brilliantly humorous camp.

The reality is – that there was a “Watergate”…thank
you Richard Nixon for being the “putz” that you were
in this regard! People like Hillary Clinton and Fred
Thompson were the legal eagles that did the research.
We still remember the Democrats piling on the likes of
Halderman, Erlichman and the rest. It was sad. John
Dean the saddest…as the turncoat with the sexy wife
…..who did what? How about those McCarthy hearings?
Those were popular television fare. What happened to
the Warren Commission? They never got much play on the
TV did they? Why do you suppose? The Waco hearings
were the best we have ever gotten to see. There never
were open hearings on Whitewater….wonder why?

Ah, can’t you just see Susan Sontag rolling in her grave as she cannot resist to laugh at what the genre she so loved has become.

Get Ready, OC! Nancy Pelosi’s Coming to Town!

Oh, my! I was quite surprised when I first saw Martin Wisckol’s post at The OC Register’s political blog, Total Buzz:

All these fundraisers coming to town, I would guess, are not for everyone. How about $20,000 to have lunch with Nancy Pelosi on April 29, to benefit the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee? However, if you really want to see the House speaker and can’t spare three times the value of my 1997 Volvo wagon, you can catch her at a fundraiser for the Democratic Party of Orange County from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Balboa Bay Club … for a mere $1,000. Not much more than the cost of a typical repair on my car. Interested?

I’ll probably still be at the Convention in San Diego then, so I may not be able to make this date. (Sorry, Speaker Pelosi.) However if you’d like to meet Nancy Pelosi in Orange County, and you have $1,000 (or $20,000!) to spare, you can call (310) 740-6866 to RSVP. I’m sure you’ll have a lovely time at the oh so luxurious Balboa Bay Club as you meet our fabulous and fantastic Speaker of the House. ; )