Daily Archives: Jan. 26, 2009

Is it unpatriotic to hope that Obama fails?

Rush Limbaugh was deliberately trying to stir up outrage when he said that he hopes Barack Obama fails, columnist Leonard Pitts acknowledged. Nevertheless, Pitts argued that it is important to hold the statement up to the light. “Do you ever say that about your president if you are an American who loves your country? Would you say it about George W. Bush, who was disastrous, about Bill Clinton, who was slimy, about Jimmy Carter, who was inept, about Richard Nixon, who was crooked? You may think he’s going to fail, yes. You may warn he’s going to fail, yes. But do you ever ‘hope’ he fails? Knowing his failure is the country’s failure? Isn’t that, well . . . disloyal? The irony is that Limbaugh and the other clowns would have you believe they are bedrock defenders of this country, that they love it more than the rest of us, more than anything. That’s a lie. Limbaugh just told us so, emphatically. It’s not the country they love. It’s the attention. The ideology, their perversion of conservatism, is but a means toward that end.”

No more foot-dragging on emissions

President Barack Obama showed a welcome new seriousness about the environment today by ordering the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider whether to allow California and 13 other states to regulate automobile tailpipe emissions. The Bush administration rejected the request in 2007, the first waiver denial by the EPA in the then-37-year-old history of the Clean Air Act. Obama also ordered that the Transportation Department issue guidelines to ensure that the nation’s automobile and light truck fleet reaches an average fuel efficiency of 35 miles per gallon by 2020. President Bush signed a law in 2007 establishing the fuel-efficiency standard, but his administration never wrote any regulations to enforce the law. The Bush White House even refused to open e-mails from the EPA about the harmful effects of greenhouse-gas emissions, because doing so would have forced it to take action.

Kansas has organic farms, too

At Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s recent confirmation hearing, the tart-tongued Sen. Pat Roberts (in photo), R-Kan., irked promoters of alternative agriculture with an unflattering characterization of organic farmers:
“That small family farmer is about 5’2″ . . . and he’s a retired airline pilot and sits on his porch on a glider reading Gentleman’s Quarterly – he used to read the Wall Street Journal but that got pretty drab – and his wife works as stockbroker downtown. And he has 40 acres, and he has a pond and he has an orchard and he grows organic apples. Sometimes there is a little more protein in those apples than people bargain for, and he’s very happy to have that.”
Roberts also offered a few descriptive words about what his critics understood to be a “real” farmer in his view – with “10,000 acres. And his tractor costs about $350,000. It’s amazing, in terms of the costs. But these folks are the folks who produce the food and fiber for America and a troubled and hungry world.” One critic called Roberts’ statement “knuckle-dragging”; another termed it an “imaginatively gift-wrapped cow pie.”

Open thread 1/26

New way to look at slave reparations?

The issue of slave reparations is “political dynamite,” acknowledges writer Paul Devlin of TheRoot.com, but now may be the best and only time to make the case for them. Not because the nation’s first African-American president has been sworn in, but because of the bailout bonanza. As Devlin explains: “Call it a belated bailout of the Freedman’s Savings Bank, chartered by Congress in 1865 as a financial haven for freed slaves and failed in 1874 because its white board lost all the money after a spree of wild speculation. . . . That combination of real assets lost and hundreds of thousands of people involved (to whom most African-Americans today could claim an ancestor) provides a legitimate cover for, or different way of looking at, reparations. It’s not a giveaway; it’s a bailout, you know, just like the kind white people get today.”

Is Parkinson ‘hottest’ politician in Kansas?

In meaningless news: Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson (left) was named the “hottest” male politician in Kansas last fall by the Web site Lemondrop.com. The politicians were picked “not for their successes or their policies but for their hotness,” the Web site explained. State Rep. Joshua Svaty (right), D-Ellsworth, was named as a reader pick. “This curly-haired Kansan is the son of a preacher man and was just 23 when first elected to the House of Representatives,” the Web site swooned.