Keep America Beautiful

 Featured, General, Religion, Society  Comments Off on Keep America Beautiful
Feb 212010

Over at One News Now (an ultra-conservative non-news outlet), they published another story this week trying to refute the idea of Global Warming, with what may be the most absurd argument yet.

They cite the work for Dr. John Christy at the University of Alabama. Christy claims that the data coming from the earth-based thermometers used by other researchers is inaccurate because they register higher temperatures related to our development. His claim is that parking lots, buildings and other development result in the absorbtion and release of more heat, thus artificially inflating temperatures. Christy uses satellite data. The problem is, even his data shows a warming trend, but he speculates that since it’s a slower trend that every other climate scientist finds, it means it can’t be caused by humans. He even admits the warming trend could be the result of greenhouse gases, so even the scientist the global-warming denier’s want to cite wind up admitting that green house gases may be warming the atmosphere.

We have other religious-based organizations, Pat Robertson, American Family Association, and Focus on the Family, to name just a few are also on the bandwagon of denying (not global warming per sei, but) that global warming is not being caused by humans. For the life of me, I can’t figure out this insistence on them sticking their noses into this discussion.

As a non-scientist, I can’t see how this is not the result of human activity, as that is the dominant activity taking place on earth. We are cutting down our forests, paving over our grass, and pumping millions of pounds of green house gases into the atmosphere monthly. How is it possible this is NOT having a deleterious impact on our environment.

Christians are called to believe that the earth is the creation of God and is a gift given to humans for our care and nurturing. I believe that responsible Christians are especially called on to protect the environment and all in it. In Genesis Chapter 1 (KJV) the Lord gives man “dominion” over his creation. What does that mean. It certainly means to have control over, as a ruler. This then infers the concept of noblesse oblige…With privilege comes obligation…

The literal translation from French of “Noblesse oblige” is “nobility obliges.”1 To me, this implies an obligation to take care of the things over which one has control, not to destroy or abuse them. There can be no argument that we humans have and are abusing the environment bequeathed to us by God. Who can forget the famous face of the crying Native American from the old public service ads. Not much has changed.

  1. The Dictionnaire de l’Académie française defines it thus: 1. Whoever claims to be noble must conduct himself nobly. 2. (Figuratively) One must act in a fashion that conforms to one’s position, and with the reputation that one has earned. The Oxford English Dictionary says that the term “suggests noble ancestry constrains to honourable behavior; privilege entails to responsibility”. Being a noble meant that one had responsibilities to lead, manage and so on. One was not to simply spend one’s time in idle pursuits. 

Katrina: Republican Excuse to Continue Regressive Agenda

 Congress, Corruption, Politics, Society  Comments Off on Katrina: Republican Excuse to Continue Regressive Agenda
Sep 222005
  • A nice little tax cut for your wealthy friends – $327 billion
  • Some corporate welfare for your campaign contributors in the oil business – $8.5 Billion
  • Having a king-sized natural disaster to help you try to cut the programs you don’t like for the old and poor – Priceless
  • For everything else, there’s the queers.

With great fanfare, and recalling the "Gingrich Revolution" of the 1990s, House conservatives yesterday proposed a broad set of spending cuts they said would help offset the costs of the Katrina reconstruction effort. Their plan reduces the budget by $500 billion over 10 years, and does so in large part by dismantling programs that invest in middle- and working-class Americans. Progressives can do better. It’s possible to cut far more unnecessary federal spending, accomplish it in half the time, and do so while upholding the principles of fiscal responsibility and concern for the common good.

The proposal announced yesterday cuts substantial funding from several "long-standing targets of conservative scorn," like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the foreign operations budget. The largest proposed cuts are targeted at Medicaid, "the health care safety net for low-income children, elderly, disabled, pregnant women and parents." The plan cuts $225 billion by converting the federal share of certain Medicaid payments into a block grant, and $8 billion more by increasing Medicaid co-payments. Eliminating subsidized loans to graduate students slices off an additional $8.5 billion. $11 billion more is saved by passing restrictive new rules for federal retiree health care and federal pension programs.

A progressive approach to trimming the budget could result in greater savings over a shorter period of time. For example, rolling back the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans would save $327 billion over five years. Cracking down on offshore tax shelters would save $65 billion over the same time period. Simply allowing Medicare recipients to purchase drugs through the mail would save $43 billion over five years. Repealing subsidies to the fossil fuel industry contained in the recent energy bill would save $8.5 billion. Shelving costly and unnecessary weapons systems would save $200 billion. Getting rid of counterproductive agricultural export subsidies would save $30 billion over the first five years along. Giving up half of the 6,371 special earmarked projects of the 2005 transportation bill would save an additional $12 billion. A progressive approach to trimming the budget could cut $688 billion in federal spending over just five years.

 Republican Offsets      Progressive Offsets  
 Title III Program Cuts  $307B    Rollback Tax Cuts for the Wealthy  $327B
Other including DoD and DHS  $333B    Eliminate Offshore Tax Shelters  $  65B
 Cut Federal Share of Medicaid  $225B    Repeal Oil Industry Subsidies  $    8.5B
 Increase Medicaid Copayments  $    8B    Allow Medicare Mail Order Drug Purchases  $  43B
 Eliminate Loans To Graduate Students  $    8.5B    Shelve unnecessary Defense Systems  $200B
 Restriction on Federal Retiree Healthcare and Pensions  $   11B    Eliminate Agricultural Export Subsidies  $  30B
 Foreign Operations Budget  $   37B    Eliminate 1/2 of 6,371 Transportation Bill Projects  $  12B

 TOTAL After 10 Years


 TOTAL Savings after only five years


Let’s take a special look at some of the cuts included in the Republican Plan. I think most agregious is their call to eliminate "Corporate Welfare." This from a Congress that gave the oil companies, already experiencing windfall profits, huge subsidies in the just passed energy bill. Take a look at a partial list and see if you notice any patterns:

  • Eliminate the Applied Research for Renewable Energy Sources Program
  • Eliminate the Clean Coal Technology Program
  • Eliminate the FreedomCAR Program
  • Eliminate the ITA’s Trade Promotion Activates
  • Eliminate the Advanced Technology Program
  • Repeal the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act
  • Eliminate the Foreign Market Development Program
  • Eliminate the Market Access Program
  • Eliminate the Export Enhancement Program
  • Eliminate the Hydrogen Fuel Initiative

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