dingell the dinosaur

I hate it when cool and/or important things happen right under my nose that I don’t even know about… I’m not sure how it happened, but there was apparently a big protest outside Congressman Dingell’s office here in Ypsi a few days ago. I can’t really tell from the photo montage, but it looks like there might have been as many as a dozen people outside of his office, demanding that he take a more active leadership role with regard to global warming. They even had someone in what looks like a homemade dinosaur costume. Here’s the message from MoveOn that alerted me to it.

We wanted to fill you in on the latest from our campaign to push Rep. John Dingell to move on the climate crisis.

Congressman Dingell has a long history of leading on many issues. But he’s one of the key people holding up attempts to increase fuel efficiency in our cars–despite our looming climate crisis and studies that show a fuel efficient industry would create more jobs. Things came to a head this week when key legislation to stop global warming was held up in the committee Dingell chairs.

Given the urgency of the situation, MoveOn members in your district and around the country sprang into action. First, we supported a radio ad that used humor to make the point that Dingell’s energy views were stuck in the past.

Then, MoveOn members rallied at Rep. Dingell’s office on Wednesday to deliver the message in person. With dinosaur balloons and a member in a dinosaur suit to indicate how out of date Rep. Dingell’s stance is, we delivered a letter asking the Congressman to lead by including fuel efficiency and support for clean alternatives in the final bill.

At the office, our members came face to face with United Auto Workers who had turned out to support Rep. Dingell’s stance against fuel economy. The two groups talked about their differences and made plans to get together in the future. MoveOn members were loud and clear that good environmental protections can mean more jobs, and we want both. Here’s what MoveOn folks had to say:

“If there had been gas efficiency standards enacted in the ’70s,” said [MoveOn member] Jane Michener, “the auto industry would be in great shape, and the union members wouldn’t be losing their jobs to Toyota.”

I don’t know that one thing can be attributed to the other, but on Wednesday, following this protest, Dingell announced that he supported legislation that would reduce greenhouse gases by up to 80% by 2050. It’s not much, but at least it’s a first step in the right direction… According to MoveOn, this demonstration was carried out by an Ypsilantian by the name of Bob Brothers. If you know him, pat him on the back, buy him a beer, or give him a big, wet, sloppy kiss on the lips. (Ask him which he would prefer first.)

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  1. egpenet
    Posted June 29, 2007 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    I espected many to come to Dingell’s defense in the past on this blog, because he’s such a Michigan institution … and the Levin’s, too. Well, they have defended the auto industry into the dust … and the unions, too … and they’ve been amptly rewarded with re-election and campaign contributions that’ll keep them in Hummers and BP Oil for as long as they live … and their families after that. We’re not running out of oil, we’e getting closer to running out of the cheaper oil. But THAT’S not the point Mr. Dingell … we’ve heated up the atmosphere and MUST cut our use of carbon-based fuels NOW … not in some indefinte time. Us, the utilities, industry, everybody must cut consumption by as much as possible as soon asn possible to slow the creation of greenhouse gases, which are increasing at an exponential rate. The dinosauers are gone. Why? If you see Dingell, tell him that it was a poisoned atmosphere that did it. Dingell reminds me of the story about a guy droppi9ng a worm into a shot glass of whiskey in front of W. C. Fields. “See? Whiskey I’ll kill’ya,” the guy said. Fields responded, “Ah, my good man. Don’t you see? Drink good whiskey and you won’t have worms!” Fill’er up!

  2. Katy
    Posted June 30, 2007 at 12:27 am | Permalink

    I’m thinking you should milk this “influential political blog” thing a little more. I mean, who do these so-called “Move On” people think they are. I’m just sayin… if they wanted a little cred, you’d think they’d hit up the MM.

  3. Jim
    Posted June 30, 2007 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Here’s the AA News story:

  4. mark
    Posted June 30, 2007 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Here’s a note from Dingell’s District Administrator. It was sent out Wednesday night.

    Good evening,

    It’s 10:25pm on Wednesday and after a good day’s work Congressman Dingell, and members of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, were able to finish marking up 3 of the 6 pieces of the energy legislation that will go to the full House of Representatives for consideration. Today’s bills greatly improve the efficiency of appliances, lighting, buildings and industrial energy use along with improving the operation and efficiency of our electric grid. Tomorrow Mr. Dingell will tackle the last three with the goal of increasing the use and production of renewable fuels and promoting advanced battery technology and plug in Hybrid systems.

    When all is said and done this week Congressman Dingell will have put together a package that reduces carbon dioxide emission by more then 8.6 billion tons a year, the equivalent of the yearly emissions of every car and truck in the US.

    But he’s not done by far. As he said today “This is the first and not the last word on subjects we will be wrestling with for some time.” Work will continue into the fall on a comprehensive legislative package to address Global Warming and Climate change. I have copied his full statement below which I think you will find quite enlightening on the subject.

    Thanks for all of your continued support. As Mr. Dingell is so fond of saying though, “so much to do, so little time.”

    Until tomorrow,


    Jeff Donofrio
    District Administrator
    Office of Congressman John D. Dingell (MI-15)

  5. samwise
    Posted June 30, 2007 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    What happened to YpsiDixit? Please, I need to know.

  6. Posted June 30, 2007 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Rant time (I tried to behave):

    The legislation, as originally created, was made by uninformed/ignorant politicians. Meeting a 4% increase on a yearly basis is incredibly difficult. If it were as easy as some would like to think (mind you, we’re talking averages, and there are legit uses for trucks), the major automakers wouldn’t be against it. (including Toyota, which seems to have a teflon-coated image). Note that these politicians (as an entity) are the same people who voted for war in Iraq and believed in WMDs. I’m not disputing/arguing against climate issues; I’m just saying I doubt they know the whole story, or even a majority of it.

    As residents of Michigan (presumably most readers at MM.com are), include those outside the Tri-county area, we should consider not just the environmental impact of this legislation, but the economic impact. It’s no secret that Detroit and Michigan are hurting and that the root is at the industry’s problems (a lot has to do with perception and, to an extent spite against our domestic auto companies).

    Unlike nearly every other industrial nation, the US does not seem to care about it’s auto industry. I guess doing so is against free market principles, but people don’t seem to care that all the Asian makers protect their home turf.

    See this week’s edition of http://www.autoextremist.com for thoughts on the impact of this legislation (don’t assume they’re a shill for Detroit, they can be downright vicious at times [to GM especially]). Also see http://www.levelfieldinstitute.org for some stats on what the auto biz really means to America (Detroit/SE Michigan!).

  7. Sam
    Posted June 30, 2007 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    I’ve written several posts on ABG critical of Dingell and Levin for their stances on fuel economy regulations, but for what it’s worth Dingell did drop his alternative proposal that he was sponsoring with Rick Boucher that would have barred from states from regulating green house gases along with reducing the fuel economy rules.

    On the other hand MoveOn member Michener who was quoted is also clearly uninformed. There were fuel efficiency standards enacted in the seventies, the Corporate average fuel economy rules that remain in effect today. They just haven’t been updated since the late eighties when gas prices dropped again and people started buying bigger more powerful vehicles again. Americans have no one to blame but themselves for the vehicles that car makers build. They build the vehicles people buy or they go out of business. When gas is cheap people buy big powerful vehicles regardless of what CAFE mandates. When gas is expensive they buy more efficient vehicles.

    Carmakers are clearly capable of building highly efficient vehicles as their European lineups clearly demonstrate. But when they try to sell cars like that here few buy them. If you are in business and you have a vehicle that 800,000 people a year will buy and a vehicle that 80,000 will buy which are you going to build?

    A floor needs to be set on fuel economy. However, even more important is to increase the price of fossil fuels. If you actually listen to what auto execs say about fuel economy regs, they don’t mind raising them as long as something is done about fuel prices on the demand side of the equation. If gas taxes were raised at a steady and predictable rate, say 25-30 cents a gallon per year every year until they reached maybe $5-6 a gallon and income taxes at the low end were cut to compensate for lower income people, businesses and people could plan for it. Prices would actually be more stable and predictable and the investment that automakers need to make to build more efficient vehicles would be guaranteed to result in sales of those vehicles. We all know how well supply side economics worked in the eighties and there’s no reason they would work any better in this case. We need a combination of demand and supply side policies.

  8. Posted July 2, 2007 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Though I generally agree with MoveOn’s politics, the ads they are running on AM talk radio make the Swiftboaters look like post-Kubrick geniuses. Made me want to buy an H2 and go hunting.

  9. Jim
    Posted July 5, 2007 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    This time it was Greenpeace:

  10. Ol' E Cross
    Posted July 5, 2007 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    I’m sure some other readers made it to Ypsi’s July 4 parade.

    It was fun to see Dingell riding down Cross in a Ford Hybrid that screamed “Look, it’s a HYBRID!!! And, it’s AMERICAN!”

    I suppose it’s progress.

    A few cars back came the anti-Dingell mobile. An unwashed white Subaru wearing banners like a burka (couldn’t see the driver) and Vermont plates.

    Dear activist friends, if you’re going to join the parade, please borrow a Chevy and waste a little water making it shine. Remember, the medium is the message.

    Otherwise, not a bad parade.

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